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P.0) IM FROM RELIGION foundation BUX 730 © MADISON. WI 53701 (G08) 256-8900 + WWW.FFRF.ORG September 28,2017 SENT BY MAIL & EMAIL TO: mary crawford @iylerisd.org De. Marty L. Crawford Superintendent ‘Tyler Independent Sehool Distt P.O, Box 2035 Tyler TX. 15710 Re: School-adverised religious event Dear Superintendent Crawford 11am writing on behaf ofthe Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) regarding a constitutional olson within Tyler Independent School Disret, FERF is a ational nonprofit organization with more ‘han 29,000 members across the county, including more than 1,200 in Texas. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional separation between sat and church an to edacate the pubic on nonthiem. ‘A concerned district community member contacted FFRF to report that each year administrators at ‘Hubbard Middle School organize, advertise, and participate in a See You at the Pole event at the school ‘This year's event was adversed on the school's Facebook page and pictures from the event were shared con the schoo's Twiter account, along wih the heshiag “Unashamed." See You atthe Pole 's @Christan-orened prayer rally organized each year around a bible verse. This year's theme and vese is Hebrews 12:2, “Fix our eyes on Jesus.” At the national level, event organizers ‘xpliciy distinguish. between Christian and non-Chvistianstodens, calling for non-Christian stents (0 be "reached trough he event while Christin stents “strengthen thei nity" We write to ensure that district schools cease scheduling and adventsng religious events or allowing outside adults, including parents to participate in religious evens on campus with students just before the school day bens Wis unconstitutional o allow any eeligious message or prayer tobe part ofa school-sponsored eveat. Se, Engel v. Viale, 370 U-S 421 (1962) holding prayers in public schools unconstitutional) Sh. Dist. of Abington Twp. v Schempp, 314 U.S, 203 (1963) (declaring unconstitutional devotional bible reading and recitation ofthe Lord's Prayer in public schools; Lee v- Weisman, 50S U.S. $77 (1992) ling prayers at public school graduations an impermissible establishment of religion). The Supreme Court has Tong recognized thatthe preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is responsibility and a choice commited tothe private sphere.” Sana Fe Indep. Soh. Dis. Doe, 530 US. 290,310 (2000) (quoting Lee, 508 US. at $89). The prohibition on school-sponsored religious activities extends beyond the classroon to all choo! functions, including events taking place outside of normal schoo! hours This is exemplified in Le, finding payers at publi high school graduations an impermissible Toe Yow te Pa eat cm le Dan Baar and Taare Galen Pons 7 establishment of region, and Santa Fe (afer school fotball games). Likewise, a school-sponsored religious event aking place jus rir tothe start of the school day violates the Establishment Clause. ‘School administrators encouraging parens and students to participate in prayer event creates the ‘ppearance thatthe district endorses the event’ religious message, which in his ease i an exclusively Cristian message. The “(school sponsorship ofa religious message is impermissible because it ends the snellary message to members ofthe audience who are nonadherents “that they are outsides, no full ‘members ofthe political community, and an accompanying message to adheres that they ae insides, favored members of the polticl community.” Santa Fe, $30 US. at 308-10 (quoting Lynch v. Donel, 465 US. 668, 688 (1984) (O'Connor, 1, concuring). District endorsement of See You at the Pole alienats noo-Chvstan students whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being promoted by the even, including the nearly 30% of ads in the US. ‘who are non-Christian andthe aver 43% of millnnals ho are non-Christian, Even See Youat the Pole’s official website ecognizes that evens lke the one a Hubbard Middle School lee: See You at the Pole™ is a student-led event. Strong student leadership is crucial. Adult volunteers and parents should not lead the See You atthe Pole™ gathering. Many well-meaning ‘dul take over and take away from the students by trying to lead out in the prayers at the flagpole. Ths isnot the intention for See You atthe Pol™, nor is it legal for adults to lea. Please step back or stay away and let the students grow and lear in their futh by leading ‘The best place for an adult pray on the day of See You atthe Pole™ is not on campus wi students, but at aliemate locations.” the FERF asks that Tyler ISD invesigete thie situation and ensure thal i the Futre school representatives are ‘not organizing, advertising, of participating in any religious events on campus. The ditt should remind ita hs their conatiational obligation» yoverment employers proibis them fem promoting seit ‘personal religious belief o students while ating as a schoo epresemative. Please inform usin writing ofthe steps the districts taking so that we may natty our complainant Sincerely, Sn Grover ‘Associate Counsel 1 marisa’: Changing Rallis Landscape, PW RESEARCH CTE (May 12,2015). cla ot ‘vo pen frum org 05 famereas-hanging-eliious-landscape! 3 Se Yow athe Poke, tp:syatp comic “AGUS” & Hubbard Middle School - Tyler ISD CH Vesterday at 8:29am ‘See You at the Pole! Wednesday, at 7:45 am at the Hubbard Flag Pole. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2017 FIX OUR EYES (uke comment > share oO” Hubbard MS U @hubbardtylerisd Hubbard family joining at the pole this morning with students across the nation in prayer. 6:09 AM - 27 Sep 2017 inetweet 15Likcs @ @ Ss OKLOOEG Qo mt 0 6 a