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Freedom From Religion Foundation Targets Los Gatos School District

A Los Gatos, California, school district said that the Freedom From Religion Foundation has targeted them for their use of a local church to hold school events.

Union School District in Los Gatos held their 2014 Fisher Middle School graduation ceremony at the nearby Calvary Church. On June 16th, 2014, the district received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation protesting the use of the church for a non-religious event.

That letter came to Union School District just two days after the Supreme Court ruled that a Wisconsin High School violated the U.S. Constitution by using a church for their graduation ceremonies.

The FFRF said in their letter that they were contacted by "a local resident" about the "troubling" use of Calvary Church for school events.

The Foundation asked to be informed in the district's plans to "ensure that future graduation ceremonies take place in a secular location which respects the freedom of conscience of all graduates, their friends, teachers, and families."

The school district also used Calvary for events such as Van Meter Elementary School's 2014 fifth grade graduation and the Van Meter variety show. 

This year, Fisher Middle School's graduation was held at Oak Meadow Park. Van Meter's graduation ceremony was held "on the blacktop" of the school and their variety show was held at the school's multi-purpose room. 

"I went to the third variety show; it was packed," Van Meter parent Terry McBriarty said. "I was late, and spent most of the show sitting on the floor in a dress."

McBriarty also said that she is an atheist and that non-Christian and non-religious people she has talked to are upset that the use of Calvary has been banned.

Calvary has been used by the district because the district is growing and they do not yet have facilities big enough for large gatherings of people. Because of this, Fisher Middle School will be building an addition to their gymnasium to accommodate more people. The addition is now under construction.

At the end of March, Fisher's enrollment was 1,240 students.

Sources: Mercury

Photo Credit: Fisher HSC


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