March 2022 Church & State Magazine

W.Va. Students Walk Out Over Christian Assembly

  W.Va. Students Walk Out Over Christian Assembly

Students at a high school in Huntington, W. Va., walked out of class last month to protest a Christian revival that had previously taken place on site.

The event, featuring evangelist Nik Walker, was sponsored by the school’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes but took place during the school day. School officials said the event was supposed to be voluntary but that some teachers sent their whole classes. During the event, students were urged to pray and accept Jesus. Those who did not would go to hell, an evangelist said.

In protest, more than 100 students left the building during homeroom. They chanted “separate the church and state” and carried signs, reported the Associated Press (AP).

Among them was Max Nibert, a senior at Huntington High School. “I don’t think any kind of religious official should be hosted in a taxpayer-funded building with the express purpose of trying to convince minors to become baptized after school hours,” Nibert said.

Nibert also circulated a petition that asks the Cabell County Board of Education to apologize to students and parents.

Parent Bethany Felinton told the AP that her son, who is Jewish, tried to leave the assembly but was told he could not.

“It’s a completely unfair and unacceptable situation to put a teenager in,” Felinton said. “I’m not knocking their faith, but there’s a time and place for everything, and in public schools, during the school day, is not the time and place.”

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