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Jackson Public School District Agrees to Halt Convocation Prayers

For Immediate Release


Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, merrillmiller@americanhumanist.org

Monica Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 120, mmiller@americanhumanist.org

(Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 2014)—In response to the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center’s letter sent on Aug. 25, 2014, the Jackson Public School District in Jackson, Mississippi, has agreed to eliminate religious activity, including prayers and sermons, at future convocations for its faculty.

“We’re very pleased that the school district has promptly responded to this issue and has made assurances that future school-sponsored assemblies will comply with the Establishment Clause,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

Earlier this week, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to the school district on behalf of a concerned teacher, who reported that a Christian reverend included prayers, a liturgical call and response, and biblical references in his remarks. Other speakers at the event also included religious language in their speeches and specifically invoked Scripture, “God” and the “Lord.” In a letter sent yesterday, representatives from the district state that such religious activity will not be included in future convocations.

“By upholding the separation of church and state, the school district is respecting the rights of teachers of minority faiths, as well as the rights of teachers who do not profess any faith,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.

A copy of the letter sent to the school district can be viewed here, and a copy of the school district’s response can be viewed here.


Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.