Students and parents are suing a West Virginia school district, alleging that an evangelical Christian pastor gave religious services at a school’s mandatory assembly.
Freedom From Religion Foundation submitted the Forensic analysisCabell County Schools was sued by a group representing parents and students. Plaintiffs claim that teachers led Huntington High School students, on February 2, to an assembly by Nik Walker. Walker is an evangelical preacher who has a travelling ministry. Non-Christian students were prohibited from skipping the event. Jewish students were allowed to attend the event even though they asked to withdraw.
The lawsuit states that students were told to pray and to give “their lives over” to Jesus. Inability to follow this directive would cause “eternal pain.”
According to the lawsuit, students were converted to evangelical Christianity by participating in the compulsory event. They claim the school infringed on their First Amendment rights by allowing, co-coordinating and encouraging students at the school to attend an adult-led worship services and revivals during school hours.
According to the lawsuit, this isn’t the first occasion that such events have occurred in Huntington. Plaintiffs allege that Walker, from Nik Walker Ministries led revival services in Huntington schools over the past few weeks. Cabell County SchoolsChannel 13 NewsHuntington (West Virginia) that they would not comment about pending litigation
Plaintiffs allege that Nik Walker Ministries was granted permission by Cabell County Schools officials to speak to their students at school during several school days this year.
According to American Civil Liberties UnionThese practices are illegal according to the ACLU.
The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment prohibits schools-sponsored prayers or religious instruction. This is a longstanding position of the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that classroom prayers, scripture readings and other forms of prayer were not allowed in schools. Students had the right to be excused from these activities. This was more than thirty years ago,” according to the ACLU website.
Patrick Elliot is senior litigation counsel at Freedom From Religion Foundation and believes this case speaks to larger problems.Elliot explained that this is exactly why the Foundation considered it a particularly good case to make. There are reasons In an email. “We’ve seen coaches, teachers and administrators trying to inflict their religious beliefs on public school students across the country,” said one of our researchers. This is not a new phenomenon.
Plaintiffs ask the court to acknowledge that Walker’s “custom and policy” violates the First Amendment. A permanent injunction is requested to prevent the school district’s sponsorship of religious assemblies or other worship services. They also want $1 in nominal damages for each plaintiff.