Public Schools

Middle School Students Create Winning Documentaries On Church-State Separation

  Rob Boston

Americans United often gets requests for assistance from students seeking information and research about separation of church and state. I try to do what I can to help. I believe that if a young person has an interest in our issues, we should encourage it. That will help us raise the next generation of defenders of separation of church and state.

Most of the students who reach out to us are at the high school or college level, but late last year, I heard from a younger cohort – two groups of public middle school students from Silver Spring, Md., who were making short documentaries as part of a competition sponsored by C-SPAN.

Clara McClintock, Georgia Bardi and Gillian Stingley made a documentary called “Maintaining Religious Freedom in America,” which looks at the issue of church-state separation generally. Angelica Frude and Naomi Scissors focused on the Pledge of Allegiance. Their documentary is titled “Indivisible: The Pledge of Allegiance and Its Controversies.”

I’ve just learned that both of these student documentaries won Honorable Mentions in the competition. I’m not surprised. As I worked with these young people, I was really impressed with their professionalism – and it was also obvious from their questions that they had done their homework.

You can watch “Maintaining Religious Freedom in America” here, and “Indivisible” is here.

Take a look. It think you’ll be impressed. And if you’re a student yourself, or you know a student who wants to get more involved in efforts to protect church-state separation, check out AU’s Students for Church-State Separation. Also, our annual Essay Contest is under way right now, and it’s a great way to get involved!  

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