CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – The Douglas County School District is accused of allowing religion into the public schools by supporting religious fundraisers, and now the American Humanist Association is taking the district to court.
The lawsuit comes after the group warned the district to stop. The first warning was to SkyView Academy to stop promoting and supporting fundraisers that are backed by religious groups. The second was along the same lines and the group says nothing has changed, which is why they say they are going to court.
The district is aware of the lawsuit but says it’s 100 percent behind their student-driven fundraisers.
“This school district is out of control in its promotion of Christianity,” David Niose with the American Humanist Association said.
Niose is the group’s attorney and says their complaint focuses primarily on just two events. One is Operation Christmas Child because of its affiliation with the Christian nonprofit group Samaritan’s Purse. Last November the AHA threatened to sue SkyView Academy if they participated. The school at that time decided it would be best to cancel the drive, but made it clear they weren’t giving up.
“At this time we are not to prepared to fight the battle but in the future we would like to develop policy,” SkyView Academy founder Lisa Nolan said in November of 2013.
The complaint also addresses concerns that Highlands Ranch High School supported fundraising efforts for a Christian mission trip to Guatemala.
“Teachers and students participated in this trip and it was promoted by the school and aided by the school, and again, it’s just inappropriate,” Niose said.
The district issued a very clear response to the lawsuit. In a statement they said they support student-driven fundraisers, they applaud their students for being leaders, and will vigorously defend their right to continue to do so.
The AHA says they were contacted by several families in Douglas County who asked them to step in.
The suits only demand is for the district and their schools to stop promoting Christianity.