Also noted in mail this morning is an article from the Fort Smith newspaper:
In a handwritten letter this month, Van Buren High School Principal Becky Guthrie asked 20 high school employees to become prayer warriors with her to resolve the crises at the school.
The problems include staff illnesses and “discouraged spirits and personal struggles.”
At first blush, I’d say anybody is free to communicate privately with others in any way they choose, short of criminal behavior. However, a person in a position of authority in a public institution probably should give some thought to how messages might be received by subordinates. My correspondent says many teachers at the school attend the same church as the principal, so she perhaps had a level of comfort about urging religious exercises. (The leak of the letter suggests at least one recipient had an objection.) My correspondent also mentioned hearing of after-hours Bible classes at the school. Public schools can be settings for private groups pursuing all sorts of interests, including Bible study, as long as access is granted equally — free thinkers and Bible believers and Muslims and druids and Wiccans and all. I’m sure if Van Buren does open its public schools to Bible classes it would open them to Koran study as well. Right?