Friday, April 26, 2013

Mississippi schools are violating the establishment clause

Northwest Rankin High is being sued by several students for violating the First Amendment. They have been holding mandatory assemblies for students over a course of several weeks in where a baptist minister has been coming into preach the "gospel".

The School did not inform the students what the presentation at the Senior Assembly would be about or who would be making it. The students were only told that attendance at the assembly was required. Once the students and faculty arrived in the PAB, a student member (the “Church Representative”) of Pinelake Baptist Church started to give a presentation about finding “hope” in “Jesus Christ.”

The first speaker talked about his addiction to pornography and how he used to find hope in "cars and clothes". 

The second talked about issues with his father. He “used to find hope in people” and in “other guys.” He looked to these people for “brotherly love” and “fatherly love.” He said he then struggled with suicidal thoughts, and resorted to “cutting himself.”

The third also talked about problems with his family, as well as promiscuity and suicide. He had previously turned to his grandfather for hope until his grandfather's suicide. He also found his hope in “women and girls” and would see how many of them he “could get.” He said he was setting himself up for failure.

The fourth said he had a great family that introduced him to the church. He said at first he did not think he could measure up to Jesus Christ so he sought hope in “other things.” He said he used to find “hope in relationships with other people” and “in himself” and in his “materialistic living.”

But now all four claim they found hope in "Jesus". 

The suit claims the following:

"Indeed, the presentation was mandatory and faculty and parents stood near the exit door, preventing students from leaving."

"A senior friend of M.B. indicated that there were about 20 to 30 staff and about 5 to 10 parents present."

"The School’s truancy officer, Jeff White (“Officer White”), harassed several students who attempted to leave and told them to sit back down."

M.B., a plaintiff, said she was told by previous attendees what the presentation was about and decided she did not want to attend. Before the presentation started, M.B. and a few of her friends attempted to go to the library or another classroom instead but they were prevented from doing so by Officer White. Officer White redirected the students to the PAB, and refused to allow them to spend time in a monitored library where they could have studied during the presentation. 

They were warned to stop!

On April 11, 2013, the American Humanist Association sent a letter to Principal Frazier. The AHA Letter informed the principal that the Christian Assemblies were unconstitutional and asked that they be stopped immediately.

They postponed two for a short time, but blew off the AHA's warning letter. The school and church didn't care they were breaking not just the law, but the very First Amendment to the US Constitution. 

This insanity must end!

I understand the "great commission". I understand that Christians think they are going a great and wonderful thing by sharing their faith. The problem is they don't have the right to reject the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions that they do not agree with. But that doesn't seem to stop them. 

We need to put a mechanism into place that stops these events when they happen. The Secular Student Alliance is the perfect group for this too. They need to get a hotline into place that a victim student can use that will notify the SSA who can then alert local atheist groups who can intervene legally and protect student's rights because those who are charged with doing that while at school are the ones violating those rights. 

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