On April 9, a representative of Pinelake Baptist Church spoke at an assembly at the school and showed a video of two young men who found religion as a solution to their problems with drugs, sex and other dangerous behavior, according to the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, an arm of the American Humanist Association.
Students were prohibited from leaving the assembly, and at the end the church representative lead students in a Christian prayer, according to legal center.
“The Northwest Rankin High School administration clearly violated the First Amendment,” William Burgess, coordinator of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in a news release. “We have a duty to protect students of all faiths—or none—from unnecessary religious intrusion in our public schools.”
District officials deny those allegations. Rankin County School District released a statement saying the assembly was not mandatory.
- Humanists Object to Christian Assembly at Public School (americanhumanist.org)
- Jesus Christ Will Save You: A Message That Doesn’t Belong in a Public High School Assembly (patheos.com)
- Gov. Bryant signs education reform bills. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)
- Bryant Signs Charter School, Education Bills (wtok.com)