The principal of Mojave High School in Las Vegas (the last place you’d think would be having problems with too much fundamentalist religion) has some…um…interesting ideas about how to improve things at the school:
Mojave High School Principal Antonio Rael and Grace Point Church Pastor Ty Neal were seen chatting in a video about the church’s “partnership” with the principal. Rael said he felt there was a “kingdom-moving opportunity inside the walls of Mojave.” Neal indicated that the church had been invited to move its worship services into the high school by Rael, who said that he felt a “prompting of the spirit” to do so. “Obviously I’m a Christian, I understand what it means to have the Christian influence on a campus,” he said. Rael also spoke about bringing the Young Life organization (a Christian youth outfit) into the school to mentor the students, a move he claimed was “totally legit legally.”
Funny story: it turns out none of that is “totally legit legally.” Who knew? I mean, aside from everybody with a cursory knowledge of established jurisprudence, which would include the school’s official legal representatives who probably should’ve been consulted before doing any of that stuff. But I mean, other than those people, who knew?
So, as always, the FFRF first tried the approach of asking nicely:
FFRF had requested that the School District (headquartered in Las Vegas) make certain that Rael abides by the restrictions that the U.S. Constitution places on him as the administrator of a public school. “The rental process at Mojave High School must be fair and equally open to everyone,” wrote Ziegler, “not subject to a Christian administrator’s wish to ‘plant’ a church at a school and the ‘prompting of the spirit’ he feels.” In addition, it asked that Mojave High School no longer permit Young Life or other such groups to preach to students, and ensure that Rael was not involved with student religious groups.
And, I’m happy to report, the school is on board for doing the right thing, even if Principal Neal is not:
In a recent response, Clark County School District indicated that it had heard FFRF loud and clear.
“At the principal’s request, Grace Memorial Church has removed the video from vimeo.com,” McDade replied. “The Young Life organization no longer accesses the school during instructional time/schooldays but instead rents out space as an outside group. The district has also recently amended its regulation regarding student-led clubs and organizations. The amended regulation further clarifies that student-led religious clubs are noncurriculum-related and are not sponsored by the School District.”
FFRF welcomes these steps.
Ah, it’s always nice when they decide to abide by the law and do it the easy way. It’s better for the students, better for the school, and just better all around. Congrats to both the FFRF and to the Clark County School District.
Also, props to the FFRF. They’re on a god damn roll lately.