A school district in West Virginia has recently passed a policy that requires yearly religious freedom training as part of a lawsuit that was settled after an evangelical preacher apparently decided to have a revival during a school day in 2022. A number of students were required to attend the event.
The Associated Press reported that the settlement had been finalized on Thursday, noting that Cabell County’s Board of Education had policies in place that state it is not “the province of a public school to either inhibit, or advance, religious beliefs or practices.”
Board lawyer Brian D. Morrison said that “[s]tudents must remain free to voluntarily express their individual religious beliefs, or lack thereof, as each student sees fit.”
The issue was raised after four families in Huntington sued the district in February 2022, claiming that the school system in the area had a long history of disregarding the religious freedom of the students and injecting Christian religious practices into the school day.
The lawsuit noted that two Huntington High School teachers took their entire homeroom class to an assembly that was put on by evangelical preacher Nik Walker, someone who had been doing revivals in the area in the weeks leading up to the appearance at the school, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.
There were reportedly several students who were instructed to close their eyes and raise their arms in prayer, according to the lawsuit. The teens were encouraged to give their lives to Jesus in an effort to find purpose and salvation. Some of the students went on to suggest that they were told they would “face eternal torment” if they did not follow what the Bible claimed.
Among these students were Jews, who asked if they could leave, but were told that they were not allowed to.
Following the assembly, more than 100 students were involved in a walk-out at the high school, chanting, “Separate the church and state” and “My faith, my choice.”
Morrison said the event was to be a voluntary event put on by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a student organization. He went on to say that the two teachers who brought their entire homeroom were “either confused or misunderstood,” according to the report.
Morrison noted that the school already had a policy in place concerning religious freedom, but that it now includes stronger language and required training that is to be completed every year.
Huntington High students protest ‘forced’ religious revival with walkoutwww.youtube.com
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