For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monica Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 120, email@example.com
(Purvis, MS, Sept. 9, 2015)—The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center received a favorable response from officials at the Lamar County School District in Purvis, Mississippi, regarding a letter sent to the district challenging a teacher’s unconstitutional “prayer requests” board.
In an email from the school district’s attorney, the district stated that the writing on the “prayer requests” board was painted over so that it was no longer endorsing prayer. The district also made assurances that all teachers would receive an official message from the superintendent informing them that they must not promote prayer or religion in their classrooms.
“This is a victory for the First Amendment and ensures that teachers in the district will not endorse prayer or religion in their official capacities,” said Monica Miller, senior counsel with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.
“Public schools must provide a safe environment for all students, free from religious coercion by teachers,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.
The school district’s response comes after the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter in August on behalf of a local parent whose child was intimidated by an eighth grade math and homeroom teacher after taking a picture of the prominently displayed “prayer requests” board. The teacher accused the student of disrespecting the teacher’s religion and insisted on keeping the board, even if she was forced to remove the word “prayer” from it.
The Appignani Humanist Legal Center’s letter 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 nontheistic 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.