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Freedom From Religion Foundation drafts letter to Biloxi School District over ‘religious promotion’ over school PA system

BILOXI, MISS– The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has drafted a letter to the Biloxi School District regarding use of the public address (PA) system to promote religious events. 

FFRF said they have gotten complaints regarding both Biloxi High School and Biloxi Jr. High.

Read the letter here.

“Someone local to the Biloxi public schools community contacted us to report a couple different violations,” said Sam Grover, Attorney with FFRF. “We sent a letter to the school district.”

Grover said the investigation process once a complaint is made falls to the school district.

The conflict, Grover said, was the schools were broadcasting about two Christian events–See You At The Pole and Bring Your Bible to School Day– over the PA system.

“My understanding is that the school does not typically announce private, outside of school of events that are taking place to students,” said Grover. “Unless there is a policy in place where anyone can announce their private event.. then they can’t make an exception for this private religious event.”

If the school were to announce events, there is still a fine line the school must tread according to the law.

“For example, if the morning announcements say ‘the following groups are going to meet after school: the Christian Bible club, the Chess club..” said Mississippi College Law Professor Matt Steffey. “Then that’s fine, but if they are only announcing religious events, they are promoting those events. ”

Steffey said the test is how the reasonable person would read the announcement.

“If they say ‘we’ve got a meeting of the sailing club, we’ve got a meeting of the chess club,'” said Steffey. “But {then say} ‘all students who care about their eternal soul should attend the Bible study after school,’ that goes too far.”

News Mississippi contacted the Biloxi School District for comment and is awaiting a response.

 

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