An Arkansas school district came under fire on Wednesday after it announced plans to bus students to a nearby church to participate in a National Day of Prayer event.
Blogger J.T. Eberhard pointed out that the Jessieville School District had posted a Facebook message reminding parents of the event.
“Buses will leave campus at approximately 8:15a and return at approximately 10:30a,” the district stated. “Participation is completely voluntary and students will not be allowed to attend without a signed permission slip.”
Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) Attorney Andrew Seidel noted on Twitter that his organization “is already on it. School being contacted this morning.”
“The school excludes non-Christian and non-religious students by coordinating a trip for prayer at a church,” the FFRF wrote in a letter to the school. “The fact that participation or attendance is voluntary is not a valid safeguard. Courts have summarily rejected arguments that voluntariness excuses a constitutional violation.”
Within hours, the post had been removed from the Jessieville School District Facebook page. But it was not immediately clear if the district had canceled the event.