Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Religion In Schools Lawsuit Settled

The American Humanist Association announced yesterday that it has reached a settlement with the Hall County, Georgia school system in a suit that sought to enjoin prayers and religious activities that are part of the District's football and other athletic programs. (See prior posting.)  According to the AHA:
Under the settlement, the school superintendent will issue a memorandum detailing the standards for religious neutrality required by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the Equal Access Act to the principals in all of its 36 schools. The district will host a training session before the start of the school year for administrators, who will educate staff and coaches on their constitutional duties. The district also agrees to pay the American Humanist Association’s legal fees of $22,500.
The school district also posted an announcement of the settlement, saying in part:
All parties agree it is paramount that the Constitution of the United States is protected and upheld. Furthermore, in a manner similar to the routine training provided to staff in areas such as child abuse reporting and the security of personal records, we agree that routine professional training for staff should include the legal rights and responsibilities of individuals regarding issues related to religion in the public school setting.  While public school students are guaranteed wide-ranging religious freedoms, employees’ rights are more limited when in their work settings.
The Hall County School District admits to no violations of state or federal laws. The district will continue to hold the expectation that individuals within our organization abide by the laws of our land. The Hall County School District will make no monetary compensation to the plaintiffs. Insurance carriers are negotiating all questions regarding legal fees.