'Secret Keeper Girl' Skips School, Goes to Church, after AU Complaint
A Wisconsin public school agreed to stop promoting an evangelical Christian "modesty" program aimed at girls and move it off school property after Americans United for Separation of Church and State raised objections.
Officials at the Kimberly Area School District had planned to sponsor an event called "Secret Keeper Girl--The Bod Squad Tour." Local parents contacted AU after learning that the program was a religious outreach aimed at schoolgirls in grades three through six and their mothers.
Sponsored by a group called Pure Freedom, the program seeks to get youngsters to dress modestly and to remain sexually pure in keeping with "the will of God."
Handbills touting the Oct. 1 event made its "faith-based message" clear. One flyer exulted, "You'll never have so much fun digging into God's word!" In addition to a modesty fashion show, the event featured a performance by a Christian recording artist whose music is about "following passionately after Christ."
The "Secret Keeper Girl" program was being promoted by public school officials, funded by a public school-affiliated foundation and held at Kimberly High School. In a Sept. 28 letter, AU attorneys warned that school promotion of religion violates the U.S. Constitution.
"Accordingly," AU wrote, "we request that the District promptly take steps to fully disassociate the District from the Secret Keeper Girl event."
"The courts are very clear," Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn told the Appleton Post-Crescent. "A public school cannot sponsor or promote or pay for a clearly religious event, and the Secret Keeper Girl event is entirely religious."
School officials immediately contacted AU to say that they were distancing themselves from the event. …