Wednesday, February 13, 2013

School Board Modifies Policy On Youth Ministers' Lunchtime Visits

The Conway, Arkansas Log Cabin Democrat reports that yesterday the Conway school board approved a policy that will allow youth ministers back on school campuses, after their lunch hour visits with students were temporarily suspended in reaction to a complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Some parents were particularly concerned with ministers approaching children without parental consent. The schools asked Liberty Institute to analyze the constitutionality of the school policy on outside visitors.  The organization's report (full text, scroll to pg. 62 of Board agenda items), was released late Thursday, too late for parents to get on Tuesday's agenda to comment on it.  It concluded that the existing visitor policy was neutral, but the Board on Tuesday adopted changes to reinforce that conclusion.  The new policy requires visitors to senior and junior high schools to maintain a list of students with whom they are affiliated. The principal can then bar a visitor from talking with students not on the visitor's list. At elementary and middle schools, parental consent is required before a visitor may have access to a student.