HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – An atheist group has threatened to file a lawsuit against a school in Highlands Ranch after students packed up Christmas boxes for charity.
Last week the American Humanist Association — an atheist group with the motto “Good Without a God” — warned Sky View Academy about possible legal action.
They claim a project to help Typhoon victims in the Philippines is promoting Christianity, and the atheists say what the students were doing was illegal.
Michaela Van Sant is a junior at the school. When a CBS4 was there on Tuesday she and her friends were outside the school promoting Operation Christmas Child, which encourages people to provide Christmas boxes to typhoon victims in the Phillipines and in other developing nations.
“School supplies and hygiene items and toys,” she said, describing what goes in the boxes. “Just to bring joy to them on Christmas.”
Van Sant helped organize the drive, and the boxes will be distributed through the Christian group Samaritan’s Purse.
“These kids have nothing. It’s just giving the basic necessities to them,” Van Sant said.
Sky View Academy founder Lisa Nolan said the school buckled to the pressure and stopped the drive.
“This year at this time we’re not prepared to fight the battle, but in the future we would like to develop policy,” she said.
Sky View parents and students have kept the drive alive just off school grounds.
“The thought of not being able to give those kids those boxes broke my heart,” Van Sant said.
Parent Kendal Unruh told CBS4 she is proud the students have taken a stand against what she calls “bullying.”
“As parents we’re all frustrated. It happens over and over and over and finally it hit on our turf and we’re going to push back,” Unruh said.
It’s a push that Van Sant says is worth it.
“Regardless of whether or not it’s a Christian organization, these kids deserve to feel loved on Christmas,” she said.
The American Humanist Association sent the following statement to CBS4:
Sky View was sending a message to non-Christians that Christianity is preferred over all other religions and that religion is preferred over non-religion. This message is unconstitutional.
Students were planning to collect more boxes just off school grounds at 8:30 a.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.