VAN BUREN (KFSM) - The Van Buren School District responded to the Freedom From Religion Foundation's allegations that constitutional rights were violated when a religious event was held at a Van Buren school on Sept. 3.
Van Buren School District Superintendent Kerry Schneider received a letter on Sept. 8 from the foundation alleging that a religious assembly that violated constitutional rights took place at Central Elementary School at 913 N. 24th St. on Sept. 3.
The letter requested an investigation into the assembly, and it also asked that Schneider “ensure that all school staff members are aware of restrictions on religious activity imposed by the Establishment Clause.”
In a letter to the foundation dated on Sept. 19, Schneider said administrators looked at the foundation's allegations and reviewed the activities related to faith and religion that are constitutionally prohibited in public schools. After looking at the allegations and prohibited religious activities, Schneider said he was "satisfied that all employees understand district expectations to perform assigned duties in compliance with federal mandates and constitutional protections."
Schneider said the Freedom From Religion Foundation could contact him if anyone in the group had any additional issues or concerns.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a secular group based in Madison, Wis.
In the foundation's original letter to the superintendent sent on Sept. 8, the group alleged that a religious assembly was held on Sept. 3 that violated the constitutional rights of students. The assembly was run by school staff, and students were encouraged to ask other students “if they had Jesus in their hearts,” according to the original letter. Students were also told if they didn’t know about Jesus that staff members could help them, the original letter states.
Another issue mentioned in the original letter that wasn't mentioned in Schneider's response was a sign that was allegedly hung in front of the school's main office that said, "God Loves You."