A consultant hired by a northern Michigan school district apologized for seeking superintendent candidates with a Christian religious perspective.
The ACLU wrote a letter Tuesday urging McBain Rural Agricultural Schools to change the wording in its search for a new superintendent who had “a strong Christian background and philosophy,” reported MLive.
“Our Constitution wisely requires public schools to remain neutral in matters of religion,” wrote Dan Korobkin, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan. “When a school favors one religion over another, or religion over non-religion, students and teachers who do not subscribe to the favored religion are made to feel like they do not belong.”
ACLU officials said they were “distressed” that school administrators and staffers must have read the job description before it was posted.
“We wonder how many excellent candidates who are Muslim, Jewish or not religious read the job description and decided not to apply because they believed they were not wanted,” Korobkin wrote.
The Michigan Leadership Institute for West Central Michigan responded to the letter and took responsibility for the job posting, which has been revised.
Scott Crosby, the consulting group’s regional director, admitted “poor judgment” on his part, but he insisted the religious reference was not intended to exclude anyone.
He said the language simply reflected the area’s “close-knit and conservative” views.
“There are other ways to reflect that,” Crosby said. “Clearly, it was not intended to discriminate in any way, shape, or form.”
ACLU officials said they appreciated the quick response and action by the consulting group and the school district.