The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors gave a tourism grant to a Catholic shrine to support the shrine’s celebration of the canonization of the shrine’s patron saint. In response to AU’s letter, the County considered a resolution that would have restricted the use of the grant money to secular items. AU sent a follow-up letter explaining that any money given to a religious shrine to support a religious event would unconstitutionally support religious activity. The shrine ultimately declined the grant because it could not agree to the restrictions on the use of the money.
A public middle school and high school planned to hold a musical assembly — featuring a religious band with a singer known to regularly give speeches about his religious beliefs during performances — during the school day. AU sent a letter explaining that the inclusion of religious content in a school assembly violates the U.S. Constitution, and the school acted to ensure that the assembly was completely secular and that there were reasonable alternative activities for students who did not wish to attend the assembly.
A public school hosted an assembly featuring a religious group known as Team Impact. Although the in-school presentation was secular, the group used the assembly to invite students to a religious after-school event. AU wrote to the school district to explain that it is unconstitutional for the school to allow Team Impact to use a school event to invite students to a religious activity. The school district agreed with our assessment, and has spoken with the principal of the school to ensure that this does not happen again.
The Rogers Public Schools were allowing the Gideons to distribute Bibles to students in fourteen elementary schools throughout the district. The school district, in response to AU’s letter of complaint, agreed that the Gideons would no longer be allowed to distribute.
AU received a complaint that two public school teachers were participating in religious activity at a See You at the Pole event. The school investigated after receiving AU’s letter of complaint and agreed that teachers and other school personnel would be limited to supervising student behavior at future student-led See You at the Pole events.
AU received a complaint regarding a planned public-school assembly featuring Dean Sikes, an evangelical pastor who speaks at schools around the South. His presentations commonly feature proselytizing and religious messages, so AU wrote to school officials to alert them to this pattern and to caution them not to allow Sikes to proselytize students. School officials agreed, and our complainant reported that there was no religious content in the assembly.
AU received a complaint that a middle school was allowing the Gideons to distribute Bibles to students as they entered the school after getting off the school bus. AU wrote to the school district and objected to this practice, explaining that allowing the Gideons to distribute Bibles on school property during the school day was unconstitutional. The school agreed to put an end to the distributions.
A public high-school’s football coach prayed with players prior to games, and the school sponsored a prayer over the loudspeaker just before the start of each game. AU wrote to the school to explain that both practices are unconstitutional. The school agreed and has put a stop to both practices.
The West Oak High School student handbook features an official student creed, which included the affirmation "I believe in faith, for without it, I am a lost soul in a lost world." AU objected to this affirmation, explaining that it is unconstitutional for a public school to inject religious affirmations into school curriculum and culture. Subsequent to our letter, the school district removed the religious affirmation from the student creed.
A high-school teacher displayed two items in his public-school classroom: a nativity scene and a doll of the Grinch. During class he pointed to the nativity and declared that it was for those who shared his Christian faith, and then pointed to the Grinch and said that it was for all those who did not. AU wrote a letter of complaint that explained that it is unconstitutional for a public-school teacher to erect religious displays and to make disparaging comments about minority religions.