Proselytizing Recreation Camp Reaches Compromise with Washington County School Board

Yesterday, I posted about Antietam Recreation, a field trip destination for public school students that secretly proselytized to the children during a lunchtime “show.”

After an article came out in the Herald-Mail about how the Washington County schools (in Maryland) were no longer going to go there for that reason and how the owners refused to change their program, the two sides have already reached a compromise:

Washington County Public Schools and Antietam Recreation officials have reached a compromise that will allow students to continue to take field trips to the recreational facility, officials said Wednesday afternoon.

… and that’s all we know.

Antietam Recreation didn’t offer much more on their Facebook page, either:

Just a shout out to everyone who posted, called, or commented! The Rotz family is grateful for your support. We’re also glad to announce that due to discussion and a slight rearrangement of schedule, permission for Washington County Schools to attend has been reinstated!

So will Jesus and God no longer be brought up when public school children are in attendance? What are the terms of the compromise?

I left a message with the owners and will update this post if/when I hear back from them.

***Update***: Now we know the terms of the compromise and they’re not looking good at all:

The Washington County School Board just said that the field trip to Antietam Recreation is back on. They have reached the compromise that if students feel uncomfortable with the spiritual message, then they can go outside to the petting zoo or go horseback riding instead.

Let me rephrase the compromise: The school district is still going to pay this family business to continue proselytizing with the caveat that not all students have to listen to it.

If this happened for, say, an assembly featuring a Christian abstinence speaker, we wouldn’t think twice about suing the school even if kids were allowed to stay in the classroom.

Just imagine being the one or two students who aren’t Christian, who don’t want to be preached to… but who feel pressured to stay and listen because they don’t want to be the odd ones out. It doesn’t matter what the alternative is — being told what to think about God shouldn’t be an option, period.

Why the school district chose to go down this precarious path when they had already made the right decision to begin with baffles me. (Are there no other places in Maryland where students can have fun?!)

This isn’t a compromise. This is giving the Christian-owned company everything it wanted — and opening the door to a potential lawsuit from parents whose children will be attending this Christian camp.

(Thanks to James for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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