Advocacy Group Claims First Amendment Violations at DC School System's 9/11 Memorials

September 19, 2002

Source: The Washington Post

On September 19, 2002 The Washington Post reported that "according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an advocacy group... the [District of Columbia public] school system appears to have violated... a memo from the school system's general counsel, headed 'Religious Neutrality Requirements' and sent to all school and central office administrators,... [which] told employees to 'be mindful that we are required under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to avoid entanglement with religious issues and activities.'" An example of an alleged violation took place at "Leckie Elementary School in Southwest, where a student and teacher were among those who died last year... The school distributed programs that included the image of a cross for its morning remembrance assembly. During the assembly, two students sang a song about Jesus... Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the events appeared to violate the First Amendment and should not have promoted any religious perspective."