Religion

ACLU Puts A Stop To Michigan School's Discriminatory Hiring Practice

| by Tony Tran
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One Michigan school might find their search for a superintendent a little harder than they expected. Especially now after the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) decided to take a closer look at their hiring practices.

The problem: McBain Rural Agricultural School is searching for a new superintendent who possesses "a strong Christian background and philosophy."

The ACLU regularly takes on cases which combats the inclusion of church and state, so officials at the organization drafted a letter to the district on March 3. In the letter, they suggested that the school "remove any reference to religion, saying the requirement violates multiple federal and state laws against discrimination," according to Michigan Live.

"There is no principle more fundamental to American public education than the requirement that schools be welcoming of all students, employees and administrators regardless of religious or ethnic background," ACLU of Michigan deputy legal director Dan Korobkin wrote in the letter. "Our Constitution wisely requires public schools to remain neutral in matters of religion. When a school favors one religion over another, or religion over non-religion, students and teachers who do not subscribe to the favored religion are made to feel like they do not belong."

The ACLU had received the complaint about the job listing last week. The listing can be found online, having been posted on the website for the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association since earlier in February. 

The district's current superintendent, Michael Harris, plans to retire in June. 

The letter also made mention of an issue involving the fact that the district had their board review the job description before deciding to publish it. They have also been working closely with a professional hiring firm.

The letter makes their grievances clear, stating: "Even if it was a mistake, however, we are distressed by how many administrators and staff must have read the job announcement without thinking it was wrong or demanding that it be changed. Moreover, we wonder how many excellent candidates who are Muslim, Jewish or not religious read the job description and decided not to apply because they believed they were not wanted."

The ACLU has yet to receive a response from the school.

Source: Michigan Live Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons