ACLU says Biddeford crossed school/religion line

4:59 PM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
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BIDDEFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The ACLU of Maine Says school officials in Biddeford violated the Constitution when it comes to the separation of church and state.

Last week the student bodies at both Biddeford High School and Biddeford Middle School attended an assembly put on by a group call Life Choices. School officials say the program was promoted as being about the Columbine school tragedy, school safety and tolerance.
But the ACLU of Maine says it went too far.

"Talked about martyrdom and people dying for Christ and these are views of course that people have a right to have, but student should be able to go to school and not have those views presented", said Zach Heiden of the ACLU of Maine.

After being contacted by some concerned parents the ACLU fired off a letter to school officials demanding an apology for parents and a commitment from the school not to put on a similar program again.
School officials do acknowledge that the assembly went beyond what they expected.
"After attending I can understand how people could have been uncomfortable with some of the religious references and we're deeply sorry if that offended anyone", said Biddeford School Superintendent Jeremy Ray.
School officials say they reviewed the Life Choices website before the presentation. On it they say there were valuable messages that students can use such as self respect, setting life goals, and respecting others. They say nowhere on that website were messages with religious overtones.



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