Worthy Christian News » US News » Teacher Forced to Halt Native American Religious Rituals
May 11, 2001
Pinole, CA - A fourth grade school teacher at the Ellerhorst Elementary School in Pinole, California has halted the religious Native American rituals that she has been performing in her classroom, to the objection of a number of parents. These rituals included the use of a medicine wheel and morning chants where she addressed the north, south, east, and west, along with father heaven and mother earth. The ritual also had involved the burning of sage in the classroom in conjunction with the daily recitation. She later replaced the sage with a rattle. In Shamanism, a rattle is used during prayer to announce ones intention to the spirits in each of the four cardinal directions.
A concerned parent notified the Pacific Justice Institute of the outrageous conduct and religious ritual practices after the school district refused to respond to her complaints. The Pacific Justice Institute sent a detailed demand letter to the school district's legal counsel making it clear that such activity was an unconstitutional violation of the rights of families with traditional religious beliefs. The law firm today informed the Institute that the teacher will no longer continue such practices.
"We are glad this case could be resolved without unnecessary litigation," said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute. "We hope other school districts learn from this outcome."
The Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties.