Hawthorne, CA

AU received a complaint that several teachers at Hawthorne High School were leaders in Young Life ministry — a religious club — and actively promoted Young Life to students during the school day. These teachers displayed Young Life posters in their classrooms, wore Young Life apparel, distributed Young Life flyers, announced Young Life meetings to students during class, and transformed honors and AP study-group sessions at their homes into impromptu Young Life meetings. AU wrote a complaint letter about these practices to the school district in October 2007. The district initially responded that it had addressed the issues; but, in fact, we determined that the district had not resolved all the violations. Accordingly, we wrote a follow-up letter in April 2008, listing those violations that had not been cured. The district responded that it was evaluating our concerns and would address any further appearance of religious sponsorship. Despite the district’s assurances, we received word in November 2008 that some of the practices still continued. We wrote the district a third letter at that time, restating our concerns and asking the district to take action. Finally, in December 2008, we received confirmation from the district that it had halted all the practices about which we had complained.