Another Mt. Vernon schools is violating the First Amendment. First it was in Ohio, where John Freshwater taught. Now the Mt. Vernon School District in Texas has been caught pushing religion — Christianity, of course — on its students in a variety of ways.
Numerous allegations of Establishment Clause violations include religious postings in several classrooms. One kindergarten teacher displays 10 Christian crosses on the wall next to her desk, several with bible verses printed on them. A high school Spanish teacher has a printed list of “Bible Verses for Teachers” on her wall that quotes such New Testament verses as Ephesians 3:16-17, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
“Public schools have a duty to ensure that ‘subsidized teachers do not inculcate religion’ or use their positions of authority to promote a particular religious viewpoint,” FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover wrote Superintendent John Kaufman in the Oct. 31 letter. “When teachers place Latin crosses or bible quotes on classroom walls, they have unconstitutionally entangled the school with a religious message, specifically a Christian message.”
It is FFRF’s information that hallways in multiple Mt. Vernon schools contain religious quotes painted on the walls. At Mt. Vernon High School, the quotes include, “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face,” attributed to Ronald Reagan, as well as one attributed to Thomas Paine, “Reputation is what men and women think of us, character is what God and angels know of us.”
FFRF also protested the district’s T-shirts on sale that read “FAITH – Family – TIGERS” with a cross replacing the “t” in the word “faith.” The shirts are displayed at the main entrance at Mt. Vernon Elementary.
“Public school employees cannot sell, ask students to wear or themselves don religious T-shirts,” wrote Grover. “Doing so alienates those non-Christian members of your community whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being promoted by the school.”
“Given the variety and pervasiveness of the violations reported to us, we recommend that the district not only address the specific violations reported here, but also make an effort to educate all district employees about their obligation to remain neutral toward religion under the Establishment Clause,” the letter concluded.
In addition to the unconstitutional nature of all of this, the quote from Reagan is also monumentally stupid. Tell me what the Bible’s answer is to the problem of, say, alternative energy? Or antibiotic resistance? Or rising food prices?