AU Ensures That Prisoners Are Allowed A Broad Selection of Literature - Alcorn, MS

A county jail allowed inmates to have three books with them while in jail, but required that one of those books be a Bible. When AU wrote to object, the county sheriff contended that this was not the case. However, a website apparently affiliated with the jail prominently displayed the requirement. When AU pointed this out, the sheriff informed us that this website was not officially affiliated with the county, and had the offending portion of the website removed.

Town’s Signs Welcome Back the Constitution at AU’s Urging - Barrackville, WV

The sign in front of the Barrackville municipal building often featured religious content, including things like “Welcome to Barrackville, Jesus Welcomes You Back” and “Need Extra Money, Try Tithing . . . It Works!” In a letter to the town, AU explained that promotion of Christianity on the town’s signage was unconstitutional. Though we received no formal response, our complainant tells us that the religious messages have stopped.

Board of Education Replaces Prayer with Moment of Silence - Oklahoma City, OK

The Oklahoma City Public Schools’ Board of Education regularly began its meetings with a prayer. AU wrote to the Board to inform it that it is unconstitutional for school boards to include prayer at their proceedings and to ask the Board to stop. The Board agreed to replace the prayer with a moment of silence.

Board of Education Replaces Prayer with Moment of Silence - Oklahoma City, OK

The Oklahoma City Public Schools’ Board of Education regularly began its meetings with a prayer. AU wrote to the Board to inform it that it is unconstitutional for school boards to include prayer at their proceedings and to ask the Board to stop. The Board agreed to replace the prayer with a moment of silence.

AU Stops Public-School Religious Graduation Ceremony at Church - Marietta, GA

An elementary school held its 2012 graduation ceremony at the Destiny Metropolitan Worship Church. The ceremony featured an extended sermon by the pastor that invoked the Bible and informed students about God’s plan for their lives. AU wrote to the school and explained that public schools may not hold graduation ceremonies in a church and may not invite pastors to deliver religious messages at graduation. The school agreed to discontinue both practices.

College Football May Be A Religion, But No More Weekly Chapel for One Team - Fort Scott, KS

A coach for the Fort Scott Community College football team instituted and led a weekly team activity called Friday Night Devotionals—a thirty-minute Christian religious worship program. AU received complaints about the program and wrote a letter of objection to the college. The college responded and agreed to stop the devotional program.

With AU’s Help, School Discovers it Can Launch Rowboats Without an Unconstitutional Prayer - South Bristol, ME

The South Bristol School has an annual project where students construct rowboats and then launch them during a ceremony at the end of the year. AU received complaints that the launching ceremony included a pastor, invited by the school, who delivered a prayer. After our letter of complaint, the school responded and agreed that future school-sponsored events will not feature prayer or religious activity. The school subsequently wrote to us and proposed keeping the prayer in the ceremony, but calling the event a “community event” and closing school while it took place.

City No Longer Displays Cross, Nativity on its Property After AU Advocacy - Grand Haven, MI

The City of Grand Haven displayed a 48-foot-tall cross on a hill that is public property. The city mechanically raised the cross for Sunday church services, Easter services, and a Christmas nativity display also erected on the hill. Over the course of two years, AU wrote several times to the City to protest these displays. City officials attempted to defend their practice by insisting that other symbols could be displayed on the cross’s lift mechanism.

AU Educates Charter School on Graduation Prayer and Baccalaureate Sponsorship - Ocoee, FL

AU received a complaint that a public charter school’s graduation ceremony featured two prayers delivered by a teacher, and that the school took steps to plan a baccalaureate service, although it did not go through with it. AU wrote to explain that the prayers were unconstitutional and that the school would have violated the Constitution had it held or sponsored a baccalaureate ceremony. The school responded to thank us for the information and to inform us that it had used our letter to update its policies and instruct its staff to no longer engage in these activities.

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