For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Niose, 202-238-9088 ext. 119, email@example.com
Monica Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 120, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, D.C., Oct. 22, 2014)—The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center received a notice from school district officials at Lake Dallas Independent School District in Corinth, Texas, that the Lake Dallas High School’s football stadium public announcement system will no longer be used to advertise church gatherings held after football games.
“We are pleased that the school district promptly responded to our request and has agreed to discontinue using public school resources to advertise religious gatherings in the future,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “The use of the school’s public announcement system to advertise church activity during a school-sponsored event violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause,” Miller added.
The school district is responding to an email sent by the Appignani Humanist Legal Center on October 14 concerning an announcement made at an October 10th football game between Birdville Independent School District and Lake Dallas High School. During the game, an announcement promoting a 5th Quarter gathering at the nearby First Baptist Church Corinth was made over the school’s public announcement system. The announcement specifically invited students to the event. The email described these actions as coercing students into attending a Christian church.
“Unnecessary religious announcements taking place during school-sponsored events disrespects religious minorities as well as students with no religion,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Religion is a private matter for the home or a house of worship, not public schools.”
In an email to the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the Lake Dallas Independent School District superintendent stated that “the school district will take measures to ensure that such announcements will not happen in the future.”
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.