Is this legal? Passing out Christian Daycare brochures at open house public school

I just went to my daughter's Kindergarten open house today. There was a woman from a Church daycare passing out flyers to all the parents. I told her that we wouldn't be going because I didn't want my daughter indoctrinated with that. She was nice and understood. I did, however, take a flyer because I wanted to be able to refer to it when I complained.

I complained to the classroom teacher. She was surprised but wasn't sure if it was legal or not. She referred me to the principal. I plan to talk with her next.

I don't know if it is illegal or just inappropriate. I plan to complain either way. However, I would like to know if it actually breaks the law. Does anyone know?

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Thanks. I just hope they stop it. I have a feeling this school is going to be a fight the whole time. The classroom teacher assured me that she doesn't pray with the kids or tell them what they should believe or hand anything out (I've heard of all of these happening) but she did tell me if kids ask her about her beliefs she will tell them. I hope they don't ask her.

I really don't understand why teachers can't say that it's personal and they don't think it's appropriate to divulge that information to minors. That is what I said as a guidance counselor. It never seemed to be an issue. I was fine talking about the students beliefs with them if they wanted to talk about it. I just didn't bring mine (lack there of) up with the students. It wasn't hard.
Grrrr.  Over the years, we've had little flyers put in my daughter's cubbie or school bag.  One was for a Christian sports league... I think their catchy slogan was "Pray then Play".  I think many schools simply get a bunch of flyers and hand them out without thinking.  As for the woman actually being there at Open House?  Well, that seems a bit odd.  Are you sure the day care is affiliated with the church?  Many churches around here don't actually run the day cares, but rent out space for independent (and often non-religious) programs.  I would double check that first.  So, what's on the flyer? ;-)
Jarvisburg Christian Church runs a Christian school in their church that has apparently also has an after school program. That's what it is for.

It says' Jarvisburg Christian Academy After-School Program. Then it has the address, hours about a little about what they do. It doesn't say anything proselytizing. However, it's clear they do. And when I first told the lady I didn't want a flyer b/c I didn't want my child indoctrinated, she said she understood. Then I went back and asked for one. It occurred to me that it would be better to have the offending flyer if I am going to complain.

I just called a friend of mine who manages a secular daycare and asked her if they'd be allowed to do such a thing. She said that if they want to advertise their program, they must go to the school board and request to be able to do so. They don't because it is too much hassel and they may not get approved. I intend to find out if this academy went through the school board.

Now, of course, for all I know she just walked in off the street without approval and did this on her own. However, I am going to find out.
Ah yes... it sounds like it is definitely a christian day care.  You really don't need more than the name to complain.  When you go talk to them, don't let them know that you think she might have just walked in off the street... even if they didn't, they will see this as an easy out.  And, if they do say she just walked in without permission, I would question the security of the school, if anyone can just come in and start passing out flyers.  I think you have something here.  Good luck, and I wish I could come help... or at least be a fly on the wall.;-)

Thanks for the advice. That's helpful. 


Wow, Pray then play. That's pretty blatant! What happened with that? Did you complain? Did they stop?

I was too busy laughing about it, and in retrospect, I wish I would have complained.  My daughter went to a private elementary school.  It markets itself as a "non-sectarian school".  It's a great school (I teach there and love it), but they do teach religious holidays.  They present it in a way a Humanities class would, and I'm glad my daughter now understands world religions and cultures because of it.  The "pray then play" sentence was on the back of the form and didn't really stick out.  I am sure the secretary just saw it as another option for sports and nothing more.  It was rather sneaky how it got stuck in there.  I haven't seen the flyers in a couple of years, but I'll look for them.  Even though my daughter is no longer there, I will say something if I see them.


And yesterday, my daughter's public school language arts teacher was going on and on about their "god given talents".  She told the kids that they need more than straight As to get into the best high school.  They need to be members of the Junior honor's society, and they need to volunteer at their church.  My daughter piped up and said, "And what if we don't belong to a church?  Does that mean we won't get into a good high school?"  That girl cracks me up sometimes.... and other times, I wish she would hold her tongue. I was mad that the teacher is trying to make 7th graders feel any pressure at all.  They are there to learn, not to worry about what high school they get into.  I'm thinking of complaining, but I don't really have much to go on.  Kids feel enough pressure to do well without having a teacher add more. 

They complete to get into a "good" high school? Is this public high schools or is it a private high schools that they would be competing for? Outside of a few speciality public high schools, I thought you just went to whatever school was in your district. 


I say "go girl" to your daughter. 


That language arts teacher needs to be reported. I hope you do complain. At the very least the principal could talk with the teacher and make sure he/she understands that this is not an appropriate way to talk in the class. 

I agree that kids get enough pressure to be religious. I don't think it's appropriate for a public school teacher to say such things. 

Thanks, I appreciate your remarks.  This is at a public middle school.  It's a magnet school for gifted kids, but still public.  And here, where we live, there are a few public high schools where you can apply to get into special programs.  My daughter will most likely go to the HS down the block (her zoned school), or, if she really feels like it, she could apply for the IB program at another HS.  Personally, I think all of this school stuff has gotten completely out of hand.  I will encourage her to go to the zoned school, as I think the IB program is nuts.  I want her to enjoy HS.  We still have a few years to go, but regardless, I think this teacher's bullshit of putting pressure on young kids who already excel at school just contributes to so many issues they face today (like buying other kids' ADHD drugs so they can study longer, or taking drinks that will keep them up).  A teacher should not be contributing to these problems.  I think I will go have a talk with her... thank you!

Okay, my reply here is as a teacher, so take it as you will, but I don't think the teacher was intentionally doing anything wrong.  Don't forget we live in a society where church-going is the "norm" and even though we're seeing more and more evidence that said norm is changing, most who are teachers now grew up in a time where it was not only the norm, but flat out assumed that everyone had SOME kind of "god" even if it wasn't the Christian one.

Second, as for the volunteering at a church to get into a good high school, again it comes back to our society.  I was in a meeting just yesterday where we were given a list of 50 "supports" that every child should have at least some of.  It had data and studies that showed that children with fewest of these "supports" had a correlation to increased drug use, teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, etc.

Among these "supports"...  "Spends 1+ hours per week at a church or religious institution."  I assure you, that got my hackles up too, but the study was correlative not causative, and I'm sure many of the "good" kids in the study also went to church simply by virtue of the percentage of americans who do.

Anyway, my point being that because of that kind of thinking, many people (especially religious ones) think volunteering and religion/church are synonymous.

By all means, talk to the principal about it if you don't want to confront the teacher directly, but be careful about being too confrontational.  Be informative instead.  It's a simple mistake and if you're super confrontational/offended about it you're just going to trigger the fight or flight reflex in the teacher (yes we do still have those).  Instead offer it as a learning opportunity.  If possible, bring in alternative, non-religious places that would also be considered good for volunteer work for young students.  That way, you're not just complaining, but offering an alternative as well. 

I would guess that would be much more effective and productive for everyone.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Pirate Bard.  I agree.  I wasn't all that bothered by the church activity comment, but my daughter was, which then got me going.  I'm a teacher too, and my philosophy is to always make as few waves as possible.  I was more concerned that she was trying to scare these kids into thinking that doing their best in school wasn't enough to get into HS.  These kids are all going to get into good high schools.


The comment really bothered my daughter (who unlike me, seems to leave a wake behind her wherever she goes). She is very outspoken, and we did talk about just letting those kind of comments roll of her back.  I wrote the other comments when it was still fresh, and now, after thinking about it, it's not such a big deal. 


I will take your advice about offering secular ways the kids can volunteer.  Thanks again!

So often there is innocence at the core of those kind of remarks.  The average person, religious or non, is not trying to pick a fight or sneak in a little jab.  The simply don't think of us, unless we remind them, like Whos on a speck of dust, "We are here!  We are here!  We are here!"


Atheists will hate me for saying this, but...
The fact of the matter is that churches DO more community service.  They offer more opportunities for volunteerism.  They are a conduit for outreach.  I worked in non-profit for almost a decade (granted in the south).  I coordinated thousands of volunteers a year.  Less than 10% of them were from a secular source.  Of that 10%, almost all were from public school programs.  The general public makes that association, because it is just the state of things.






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