Staff members at the Yankeetown Elementary School in Newburgh, Indiana, will no longer be distributing flyers from a Christian ministry called Pearls Of Purity Girls.
Some of the staff were passing out the flyers to third- and fourth-grade female students, notes the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which was contacted by a member of the community a few months ago.
The flyer reads: "POP Girls, officially Pearls of Purity, is a non-denominational Christian ministry for 3rd - 4th grade girls and her parents. Through life-lessons and the wisdom of Christ, Pearls of Purity cultivates girls and their families living in this challenging culture to live a pure life in body, mind and heart."
The POP Girls website states: "We emphasize purity of the body, heart and mind. Keeping their thoughts pure and saving themselves for marriage."
FFRF Legal Fellow Ryan Jayne wrote a letter to Warrick County Schools Superintendent Brad Schneider to warn about distributing the material:
The practice of distributing religious flyers by public schools is objectionable on many different grounds. First, school-sponsored distributions of religious material carry the stamp of official endorsement.
Second, even if the school disassociates itself from the religious activity through a disclaimer, which was not included in this instance, the distribution of literature for religious organizations and activities wastes the time and resources of paid school personnel, while depriving students of instruction.
Schneider responded in agreement with the FFRF:
I did review the flyer in question and understand the concern. This flyer should not have been approved and we will put steps in place to prevent objectionable flyers to slip through the cracks in the future. You have my word that flyers of this nature will not be distributed home in the future.
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor expressed her joy at Schneider's response: "It is always delightful to see a school district taking swift action to protect its young students. We can only wish that other school districts were so promptly and fully responsive."