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Families Initiate Legal Action After West Virginia School Holds Christian Assembly

March 22nd, 2022

Last year, the Freedom from Religion Foundation was able to stop a Kansas public school from taking part in Operation Christmas Child.
Parents initiated legal action against a school in West Virginia after it permitted a preacher to conduct a Christian assembly during school.

Parents and students recently initiated legal action against a school district in West Virginia after the school permitted a preacher to conduct a Christian assembly during school. Some students were even required to attend this assembly.

The lawsuit was filed after 100 students walked out of their classrooms at Huntington High School. They chanted slogans in support of the separation of church and state. 

Details About the Lawsuit over the Christian Assembly

The lawsuit claims that at the beginning of February 2022, two Huntington High School teachers brought their entire classrooms to a Christian assembly hosted by a preacher who had been leading Christian revivals in the area. Various students, including a Jewish student, requested to leave the revival but were told that they could not do so. Instead, these students were told to close their eyes and raise their hands in prayer. The teenagers were requested to give their lives to Jesus Christ to obtain salvation. Students also stated that they were told that people who did not follow the “Bible” would end up facing eternal punishment.

A lawsuit has been filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation as well as various families. The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court in West Virginia, argues that the Cabell County school system has a history of violating the religious freedom of students and promoting Christian religious ceremonies. The lawsuit argues that the school has a systemic history of disregarding the religious freedom of students and instilling Christian religious practices. For years, school workers have violated students’ constitutional rights by endorsing Christianity and coercing students to engage in this type of religious activity. 

Response to the Situation 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation attorneys stated that regardless of whether they are voluntary, religious services should not be permitted during school hours. The Foundation states that it has written several legal complaints over the last few years that the school district has ignored. In 2017, the Foundation even informed Cabell County Schools that more than one Christian assembly was performed at the school. In 2019, the Foundation stated that it informed the district about worries that adults had not only created but were managing religious clubs at Cabell County schools. 

The Associated Press has attempted to obtain commentary about the lawsuit from the school, but the school’s spokespeople have been silent on the matter. During an earlier interview with the Associated Press, a spokesperson for the school stated that the assembly was intended to be voluntary, but that two teachers took their entire class to the assembly. The spokesperson referred to the event as an honest mistake by teachers. The spokesperson also stated that the issue will never arise again.

The district is investigating the event and believes that students’ rights have been violated. 

The Goal of the Universal Life Church’s Blog

While the basis of religious rights in the United States is the Constitution, each month there are various cases that question the nature of these rights. Our blog focuses on documenting the most noteworthy of these cases in a way that can be easily understood by readers.

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