AU Stops Prayers Over Loudspeaker at Louisiana Public School (Natchitoches, LA)

We received a complaint about two schools in a Louisiana school district that read prayers over the loudspeaker every morning and included prayers at almost every school event. Our letter to the school district explained that these were egregious constitutional violations and asked the school district to put a stop to them. Though we never received a formal response from the district, our complainant and an irate local caller confirmed that the school district has stopped the practices.  


Denton, TX

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.

Douglas, GA

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.

Westminster, SC

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.

Mercedes, TX

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.

Louisville, KY

AU learned that the University of Louisville Hospital planned to participate in a merger with a Catholic hospital. This would have resulted in a public hospital being subject to religious rules and restrictions on reproductive healthcare followed by Catholic health-care providers. AU wrote to Kentucky’s Governor and Attorney General and warned them that the merger would be unconstitutional. The Governor declined to approve the merger, in part because of the church-state separation concerns AU raised.

San Antonio, TX

The City of San Antonio provided funds to a private contractor to create a tower to serve as a marker for the entrance of Texas A&M’s San Antonio campus, and Texas A&M agreed to allow its seal to be displayed on the tower. When built, the tower featured three crosses on each face, just above Texas A&M’s seal. AU wrote to the City and Texas A&M, explaining that it is unconstitutional for the government to affiliate itself with religion by financing a building that displays religious iconography and by associating a public university’s seal with that iconography.

Houma, LA

AU received a complaint that the principal of an elementary school in Houma, Louisiana began an open-house event with prayer. The principal agreed to put a stop to the inclusion of prayers at future school events after AU sent a letter of complaint.

Binghamton, NY

Upon entering the Broome County Jail, visitors were confronted with a statue of Jesus Christ. AU wrote to the Broome County Sheriff’s Office, which manages the Jail, and explained that it is unconstitutional for the government to erect such religious displays on government property. The Sheriff’s Office removed the statue.

Flippin, AR

The Flippin School District required all middle- and high-school students to attend an assembly featuring a group of former athletes calling themselves Crossfire. The group described their personal salvation through Jesus Christ and invited the students to an after-school religious event. AU objected to this assembly, explaining that it is unconstitutional for the school to allow outsiders to proselytize students or use a school assembly to invite students to a religious event.