For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Niose, 202-238-9088 ext. 120, email@example.com
Monica Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 119, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, D.C., Nov. 19, 2014)—Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center received a response from the St. Mary Parish School District in Centerville, Louisiana, concerning a prayer led by an adult at a mandatory Veterans Day assembly at a district high school. The school district provided the legal center with written assurances that including prayer at school events violates the district’s policy and that similar incidents will not take place in the future.
“We’re pleased that the school district will now comply with the Establishment Clause and not promote prayer or religion,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.
On November 11, students at Morgan City High School attended an event on school grounds commemorating Veterans Day, which included a Christian prayer led by an adult. Students were instructed to stand and bow their heads. One student who attended the assembly objected to the religious exercise but did not leave the assembly for fear of punishment. The Appignani Humanist Legal Center contacted the school district yesterday on her behalf.
“Schools should be educating students, not promoting religion,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “When prayers are led by teachers or administrators, it shows a lack of respect for religious minorities and students with no religion.”
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.