Boone County, KY

The Boone County Board of Education hosts an annual awards ceremony for students. AU received a complaint that this event began with a prayer delivered by a Board member and that some members of the Board, when confronted by a parent about the prayer, responded in a hostile fashion. We wrote to the Board explaining that the prayer was unconstitutional and chastising the Board for its hostile response to a legitimate constitutional concern. A member of the Board who supports the separation of church and state contacted us and assured us that the matter would be dealt with. Read more

Dallas, GA

AU learned that a weightlifting teacher at a Paulding County public high school was allowing a youth minister to visit the class and proselytize students while they were lifting weights. The district’s superintendent responded by promising to investigate AU’s concerns and to put a stop to any violations. Our complainant confirmed that the youth minister no longer visits the weightlifting class. Read more

Exeter, PA

AU received a complaint that students at the Wyoming Area Secondary Center — a public high-school — were slated to deliver prayers at the school’s graduation ceremony and that the school district had played a role in organizing, promoting, and encouraging students to attend a baccalaureate ceremony. We wrote a letter to school district officials explaining that the presentation of prayers at public-school graduations, and the school’s sponsorship of baccalaureate ceremonies, are unconstitutional. Read more

Chillicothe, OH

Southeastern High School had a practice of including a prayer at its graduation ceremony. AU wrote a letter to the school explaining that school-sponsored prayer at graduation is unconstitutional. Shortly after receipt of our letter, the school discontinued its prayer practice.  Read more

Rockville, MD

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) policy requires high schools to hold graduations at secular venues. AU learned that students at Montgomery Blair High School had received a survey asking them to rank five potential graduation venues, one of which was a large church. The survey emphasized the amenities of the church and made it appear more desirable than the four secular options. AU wrote to the school district to explain that holding public-school graduations in a church is unconstitutional, and to support MCPS’s current policy. Read more

La Crosse, WI

For several years, La Crosse County has contracted with the Salvation Army to provide shelter services to the homeless and the mentally ill. AU received complaints that, at its shelter facility, the Salvation Army regularly held religious services and presented prayers and sermons at meals. We sent a letter to the county explaining that the Constitution prohibits public funds from being used to support any program that includes religious activity, much less one that requires participants to partake of that activity. Read more

Oak Ridge, TN

AU received a complaint that an employee of the Anderson County Clerk’s Office hung two religious poems in her work area. The poems were positioned so that any client transacting business was certain to see them. We wrote a letter to the County Clerk, explaining that religious displays in a government office posed serious constitutional concerns, and asking that the poems be removed. Shortly thereafter, the religious displays were taken down.  Read more

Frankfurt, OH

A math teacher at Adena High School displayed proselytizing Christian pamphlets beside the pencil sharpener in his classroom, played Christian worship songs during class, and used a copy of the Bible as a hall-pass. In response to a complaint about this behavior, AU sent a letter to the school district, explaining that it is unconstitutional for teachers to proselytize to students, to distribute religious materials to students, or to erect religious displays in public-school classrooms. Read more

Big Timber, MT

Sweet Grass County High School had a tradition of allowing a local ministerial association to distribute Bibles to students at the school’s graduation ceremony. Graduates would receive their diplomas on stage and then were immediately offered a Bible by representatives of the association. AU was informed that, in response to a student’s complaint, the school’s Board of Trustees would be considering whether or not to change the policy. We wrote to the Board to explain that the distribution was unconstitutional and should be discontinued. Read more

Andrews, SC

AU received a complaint that a student at Andrews High School had led attendees at a mandatory assembly for Black History Month in a prayer. We wrote a letter to the district explaining that prayer at public-school programs and events is unconstitutional and asking the district to take corrective action. The district responded, explaining that it recognized that the prayer was impermissible and assuring us that it would not happen again.  Read more