'Freedom From Religion Foundation' warns Lindale ISD to keep faculty from participating in off campus play performance
POSTED: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 8:37am
UPDATED: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 1:37pm
Lindale,TX (KETK) — The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a second complaint with the Lindale Independent School District concerning a 5th grade play titled, "In God We Trust."
After the initial complaint filed by the FFRF stating it was unconstitutional for the children to perform a play with religious undertones on campus, the play was modified to be sensitive to all viewers.
Pastor Tom Buck of the First Baptist Church in Lindale then announced his church would rent the Performing Arts Center in Lindale so the original version could be performed by students who wished to participate.
Now, Elizabeth Cavell, attorney for FFRF, has filed a second complaint with the school saying, "I am reminding the district that pursuant to the federal court cases cited in my letter of May 20, the district (and any district employees) are prohibited from coordinating, facilitating, or promoting this "non-school" religious performance."
Cavell wrote to Lindale Superintendent, Stan Surratt, telling him to make sure no district employees can participate in the alternate performance.
Cavell goes on to say, "If there is any participation or coordination by teachers or school officials, the 10 and 11-year-old students who have rehearsed this material under the direction of their E.J. Moss music teachers throughout the school year are likely to assume that the "First Baptist version" of this program is equally school-sponsored."
The FFRF is also concerned with the release of the students'' contact information being released to the church renting out the center for the full performance.
"The practice of giving out student's contact info for the purpose of religious solicitation without giving the opportunity to opt out violates federal law," said Cavell. "We hope you will ensure student information is not released to the First Baptist Church outside of legal limits and that the district will not participate in, coordinate, or promote this version of the music program."