Yesterday, Connerton Elementary School in Land O’ Lakes, FL posted a tweet inviting people to join them at their flagpole on Thursday morning for a prayer with a guest from the Good News Club. There are a few problems with this:
- Public schools should remain hands-off when it comes to prayer. Any prayer events should be student-led and not involve school administrators or faculty.
- Schools should not be promoting one religion over another. By inviting a Good news Club member to participate, and then promoting the event, the school is showing favor to the brand of fundamentalist Christianity that the Good News Club teaches.
- This entire event becomes an advertisement for the Good News Club, an after-school program that is supposed to be unaffiliated with the school, per their permission slips and the Supreme Court.
As someone who is concerned about the separation of church and state, especially when it comes to schools and the constant religious overreach we see there, I responded to Connerton’s tweet and posted it on Facebook. I also reported the violation to the Freedom From Religion Foundation who I’ve worked with in the past on similar issues concerning the Good News Club. Here’s the tweet and my response:
A couple others joined in (thank you) and advised the school that what they’re doing may be illegal. This morning, I noticed that, of course, I was blocked by the school on Twitter. After logging in through a different Twitter account, I saw that the school deleted the tweet (which deleted all the replies along with it) and reposted the original tweet. If that’s not a blatant cover-up and a prime example of running from criticism, I don’t know what is.
Standard operating procedure for schools on social media when caught promoting religion: Delete message, block any dissenters, repost original message (or pretend it never happened).
Here’s the reposted tweet. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on their blatant church/state violation and cover-up. I’ll be keeping an eye out for them to delete this one too and will update as needed.
I’ll never understand how school administrators can’t get this separation thing straight. So let’s give them some help.
UPDATE: Oct 9, 6:20pm EST — The tweet has been deleted and has not yet been reposted. I’ll be monitoring the account and will update if it goes back up. No response yet from FFRF, but it usually takes them a couple days.
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