Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

West Virginia School District Implements Religious Freedom Training Following Lawsuit

 In response to a lawsuit settlement, a school district in West Virginia has established a policy mandating annual religious freedom training. The lawsuit stemmed from an evangelical preacher holding a revival assembly during the school day in 2022, where some students were compelled to attend.

Under the settlement, finalized on Thursday, the Cabell County’s Board of Education has crafted a policy that explicitly states that it is not the role of a public school to either hinder or promote religious beliefs or practices, according to a statement by the board’s lawyer, Brian D. Morrison, provided to The Associated Press.

Morrison emphasized that “students must remain free to voluntarily express their individual religious beliefs, or lack thereof, as each student sees fit.”

The lawsuit was brought by four families from Huntington, West Virginia, in February 2022. They accused the school system of disregarding the religious freedom of its students and imposing Christian religious practices.

The lawsuit contended that two teachers from Huntington High School escorted their entire homeroom classes to an assembly hosted by an evangelical preacher, Nik Walker. During the assembly, students were instructed to close their eyes and raise their arms in prayer, with some teens claiming they were pressured to give their lives to Jesus for salvation. The students were told that those who did not follow the Bible would “face eternal torment.”

The assemblies also encouraged students and their families to attend evening services at a nearby church, where they could be baptized. The lawsuit was filed after over 100 students staged a walkout at Huntington High School, chanting slogans such as “Separate the church and state” and “My faith, my choice.”

According to Morrison, the event was promoted in school announcements as a voluntary gathering hosted by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a student organization. He suggested that the two teachers who brought their entire homeroom to the assembly may have been confused or misunderstood the nature of the event.

While the board had an existing policy on religious freedom in schools, it has since enhanced the language, introduced a training requirement, and made other additions to safeguard against similar incidents in the future.

As part of the settlement, the families will receive a nominal sum from the district, and each student plaintiff will be granted a $2,000 scholarship from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nonprofit organization that represented them in court. The board’s insurer covered nearly $175,000 in attorney fees.

Herman Mays, a parent of one of the students compelled to attend the revival assembly, expressed satisfaction with the settlement, which has brought about “meaningful policy changes and enforcement and training for staff and teachers to ensure that what happened in Cabell public schools in February 2022 will not occur again.”

You May Also Like

News

The announcement followed a third unsuccessful attempt to free the stranded cruise liner. The Australia-based Aurora Expeditions, operator of the MV Ocean Explorer, stated...

Tech

In an era of increasing digitalization, the Human Machine Interface (HMI) takes center stage as the linchpin of our interaction with technology. It serves...

Tech

Apple: This event, to be live-streamed on Apple.com and YouTube, has created a buzz, leading to speculations about significant updates to Apple’s Mac lineup.The...

Tech

The preview of Nintendo Switch 2 innovations excites gamers worldwide. This preview promises cutting-edge features, enhancing interactive experiences. Nintendo’s preview hints at a transformative...