Reynoldsburg, OH

AU learned that the Reynoldsburg School District regularly held students’ orchestra-class performances at a local Methodist church, where, among other visible religious iconography, a spot-lit 15-foot cross was suspended directly over students as they performed. In November, we sent a letter objecting to the concert location, and warning that requiring students to enter a house of worship filled with religious iconography as a condition of participating in a public-school class violates a basic Establishment Clause principle: the government may not force or influence a person to go to or remain away from a church against his will. We requested that the District relocate the rehearsals and concerts to a secular venue, or at the very least, ensure that all religious iconography inside and outside the church is covered for the duration of the rehearsals and performances. In January, with another orchestra concert fast approaching, AU sent a second letter and a public-records request, again urging the District to move the concerts. The District’s attorney informed AU later that day that all future orchestra concerts will take place at District facilities.