High School Teacher Files Lawsuit For Illegal Religious Activities In School

| by Mackenzie Fleming
Fellowship of Christian Huskies.Fellowship of Christian Huskies.

A teacher in southern Colorado filed a civil rights lawsuit, suing his school district for illegal religious activities. In late May, high school teacher, Robert Basevitz filed the lawsuit against the Fremont Re-2 School district in federal court, claiming Florence High School largely promotes the evangelical Christian ideals of the local church.

The Cowboy Church at Crossroads, which operates in the school, rents cafeteria space for Sunday services and hosts daily prayer and Bible study on school grounds. According to the Denver Post, Basevitz’s attorney, Paul Maxon, claimed the school's association with the church and the religious activities taking place in the school created an uncomfortable environment for Basevitz, who is Jewish.

The pastor of The Cowboy Church at Crossroads, Randy Pfaff, said he will not apologize for being in the high school.

"I don't believe the Constitution was meant to keep God out of the schools. That's absolutely absurd," Pfaff said in an interview with The Denver Post.

Before filing the lawsuit, Basevitz had attempted to address the issue with the school district by filing a formal complaint, which resulted in officials transferring him to work at an elementary school.

Others have now come forward with similar issues regarding religion in the school. Parents of a Florence High student say their child has been proselytized during school, reported The Gazette.

In February 2013, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to District Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti, stating that the school allows the church to promote its ideals and participation in various forms including handing out fliers and making announcements over the school intercom.

Although Vendetti responded in March 2013 claiming the information was inaccurate, she replied to FFRF stating the district was making changes to ensure that Pfaff would no longer facilitate meetings of the students at school.

The current lawsuit requests that the school and school officials cease all religious activities. Sponsoring prayer, housing The Cowboy at Crossroads and distributing Bibles to students are included.

Sources: The Gazette, The Denver Post

Photo Credit: Fellowship of Christian Huskies