School Board Criticized for Mishandling Suit over Religious Songs Sung by School Choir

May 27, 2001

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

On May 27, 2001, The Columbus Dispatch published an opinion piece that charges the Columbus school district with being "seriously out of tune on the issue of religion in the schools...Last June student choirs at Columbus Alternative High School and Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School sang songs with a Christian theme...As a result, several parents complained that the performances amounted to school sponsorship of religion...School board members didn't want to come up with a policy" limiting the religious content of choral performances. "The ACLU filed suit on behalf of three Columbus Alternative High School students, challenging the district's tacit endorsement of 'religious hymns with a proselytizing message.'...All this might have been headed off with a little show of tolerance from the board...Rather than tangle with the ACLU's First Amendment specialists, the school board should cool the rhetoric and settle the suit. Then, it should write a policy, which could continue to allow religious themes in choral programs."