Speaking Up for Secular Schools


To catch up about the concerns of Rockford Public Schools 205 partnership with the Salvation Army and the National Atheist Party’s response, please review this prior article.


The experience I had on the Rockford School Board meeting on April 10th was extremely eye-opening, uplifting and encouraging for both the atheist community and those of many faiths. I had the privilege of organizing and speaking at the RPS 205 school board meeting along side three other freethinkers consisting of two former teachers, one of which drove two hours to voice her opinion, and another parent of the district. We had four of the total nine speakers of the night and that was with two speakers who couldn’t make it at the last minute. If they had made it, we would have had over 50% of the petitions and comments that were made at the meeting. In addition, we were thanked and joined by two silent supporters, one who drove 1 1/2 hours to silently support us – that is what I call strong bonds!

I am encouraged by my personal experience that those who feel adamantly about the Separation of Church and State can and should speak out and educate the educators, administrators and community as to why there needs to be godless education in the public school system.

After the meeting we were approached by at least ten diverse people with comments like “thank you”, ” I wasn’t aware”, “I will research and help correct this”.  We did not have one negative comment about our efforts to change the food drive charity from an evangelical christian church to a secular charity. I even received a hand shake from the very person who told me the district wouldn’t budge on this.

While my speaking time was limited to two minutes, I strongly pointed out that the food was being used to promote religion and that the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ was not secular at all. I publicly asked the district for facts and reasons for why they refused my first request to sever the partnership with the Salvation Army and replace the food drive with the local Rock River Valley Food Pantry. I told them that no parent or resident wanted to hear the words – “if I felt my rights had been violated to take it up in the legal system” – especially since this district reaches out to this same community for over 30,184 volunteer hours in addition to other needs.
Please come out; come out wherever you are and whatever your belief or non-belief is and stand up for keeping the public schools, public, diverse and secular. We must educate those who overlook the language of the law. A dear friend of mine, who is usually very conservative in public about atheism, came out and stated she was an atheist who gives not only to secular organizations but religious ones as well. I think Thomas Jefferson would be proud of all of us.

Please contact the Stateline Atheist Society for up to date information about our protest,
and please feel free to come out and speak your voice to support the religious freedom of the children.

Janet Buchanan

Read more at Godless Schools.


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