AHA Sues Georgia School District

After sending two letters to Hall County School District in Gainesville, Georgia and getting no response, the American Humanist Association has filed a federal lawsuit against the school for rampant proselytizing by coaches and teachers in its athletic programs.

“We have received numerous complaints from parents, students and taxpayers within the district who feel that their right to the separation of church and state has been violated by this public school district’s pervasive and longstanding practice of promoting Christianity,” said David Niose, legal director of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

The lawsuit is being brought on behalf of local citizens, including the mother of a child in the school system. Coaches at Chestatee High School have regularly led student football players in prayer, as well as participated in prayer with students. These activities have been ongoing for at least the past five years. Official team documents, workout sheets and pregame banners have also prominently featured Bible verses. A wrestling coach and a baseball coach at Chestatee High School have also engaged in prayer with students, and a former wrestling coach included references to Jesus and Christian scripture in his motivational speeches to the team. The band director of Chestatee High School has also prayed with students, and the marching band elects a student “chaplain” to lead the students in prayer. Coaches in other football programs in the district have also led and participated in prayers with students.

“By endorsing Christianity in its sports programs, the school district is demonstrating its disregard for students of minority faiths or students of no faith at all,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Public school districts must create secular environments that are welcoming to all students.”

Yet another school district that is going to cost itself a lot of money in legal fees because its school board is too ignorant or too focused on converting kids to Christianity rather than educating them to follow the Constitution. You can read the full complaint here.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • alanb

    “Two thousand years ago, someone died on the cross. Won’t somebody stand up for him?”

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    By endorsing Christianity in its sports programs, the school district is demonstrating its disregard for students of minority faiths or students of no faith at all…

    Yes, and so?

  • grumpyoldfart

    It amuses me to think of the board members who see themselves as taking positive action for Jesus by not answering letters!

  • garnetstar

    What also gets me is that they’re more concerned about converting students to Christianity than about educating them. Not only educating them on the Constitution, just educating.

    I don’t have time to indoctrinate my students, there is more than enough chemistry to fill the semester. What are these “teachers” leaving out to make sure their kids get saved? Wouldn’t the kids, you know, *learn* more if that time was spent on the subject?

  • D. C. Sessions

    What also gets me is that they’re more concerned about converting students to Christianity than about educating them.

    Well, sure. Even if they only save one soul for Christ, that’s infinitely more important than any amount of money or so-called “education.” So they really have no alternative, regardless of what the “law” says.

  • abb3w

    right to the separation of church and state

    I’m inclined to think right to the freedom from religious establishment might have better PR traction, but it’s easily debatable.