District pledges changes after creationist event

Posted:

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WAND)- The Superintendent of Effingham Schools has promised more oversight of flyers distributed to students after criticism of a program held at Central Grade School in January.

At the time, parents told WAND that a creationist organization held a presentation on dinosaurs during school hours and then gave students flyers inviting them to another after-hours presentation that described evolution as a myth. The Creation Truth Foundation, which held both events, also gave a presentation at Christ’s Church in Effingham where School Board President Jeff Michael serves as pastor.

One parent contacted the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which sent a letter to Superintendent Mark Doan. In the letter to Doan, an FFRF staff attorney wrote that, while the FFRF did not object to a religious organization renting school space, “it is unconstitutional for a public school district to allow outside adults to promote a religious event to a captive audience of students during a school-sponsored presentation.”

In another letter shared with media outlets by the FFRF, Doan wrote that “the only oversight that occurred is that the District allowed flyers to be distributed to students concerning the weekend event during a secular presentation about dinosaurs to students … without thorough inspection.”

In his letter, Doan wrote that the school district has implemented a practice that will require the school superintendent to approve all flyers that will be distributed to students.

In a press release, the FFRF wrote that it is satisfied by the guarantee.  

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