Bellevue, WA

After receiving complaints from parents, AU sent a letter in October 2007 objecting to a Washington-state school district’s housing of an alternative school in a local Evangelical Christian church. The church was rife with religious iconography. We demanded that the iconography be covered and that the school be moved to a District facility for the 2008-09 school year. The District responded by denying that students were exposed to any religious iconography and claimed that the location was temporary while a new school was being built. After gathering additional evidence of the religious iconography, AU sent a second letter to the District in January. The letter detailed the numerous ways in which the children were exposed to religious materials and again demanded that the District take action. The letter also included a public-records request. Documents we received in response to the request indicated that the District was well aware of the Establishment Clause problems when it leased the space: Officials had originally included strict language in the lease regarding religious iconography, but the provisions were virtually eliminated because of the church’s objections. The District has since informed AU that the alternative school will be moved to an existing District facility for the start of the 2008-09 school year.