An Arkansas-based atheist group is complaining that an
elementary school plans to take students to see a stage production
of A Charlie Brown Christmas at a local church. But ADF
asserts that the field trip is constitutional.
According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Matt
Sharp, Terry Elementary School officials think seeing the
production of this Christmas classic would not only be
entertaining, but that it would be a great learning
experience as well.
Fox News reports that teachers sent home a
letter home with the students to tell parents about the play
-- which will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14 at
Agape Church -- so that the parents who "took exception
and wished to have their children remain at school could do
The Arkansas Society of Freethinkers
was soon contacted by a parent, And while the group
claims the trip is a violation of the students' constitutional
rights, Sharp says there is nothing unconstitutional about it.
"The courts, including the Eighth Circuit, where the school
district is located, have dealt with this exact issue, and they've
said that … there's nothing unconstitutional about schools
including religious songs, or messages, or things like that as part
of a secular program of education," the ADF attorney notes.
So far, Terry Elementary is not caving to the demands of the
Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, and the mother who contacted the
organization is reportedly letting her daughter go to the
performance "for fear the girl could be singled out."
"This is one of the great stories of a school doing the right
thing, standing firm [on] what the law allows and what it's allowed
to do, and not caving in to demands of groups like this -- the
so-called Freethinkers that really want the whole world to adopt
their limited point of view on things," Sharp comments.
The Little Rock School District has declared that it "does not
promote or encourage students to support any religious
affiliation." ADF has offered to help the school with legal counsel
if it should come to that.