Sometimes, a school’s administrators do everything right.
About two weeks ago, the Secular Student Alliance was contacted by Adam, a student at Central High School in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Adam told us that, while forming a secular group on his campus, teachers complained and the principal told the group they needed to disband.
So, we reached out to Principal Jason Uttermark to find out more. There was allegedly district policy in place to not allow religious-oriented clubs or meetings to take place. This policy didn’t take into account the Equal Access Act, which allows for any extra-curricular campus group to be formed if any extra-corricular group exists. Once we brought this law to the Principal Uttermark’s attention, he handed it off to the superintendent and the school’s counsel.
|Adam at Aberdeen High School will get his secular group!|
Far too often, this situation results in the school fighting against equality, and the student being bullied, harassed, and ostracized from their community. However, Aberdeen Public Schools truly wants what is best for its students. On March 10th, the school district’s attorney got in touch with us to let us know that the school was rescinding their decision to block the group, and that Adam would be able to build his community!
SSA High School Specialist Andrew Cheadle-Ford had this to say on the situation, “I am so excited to see a situation resolve itself quickly and with the well-being of all students in mind. It is wonderful that Adam will be able to form this group and be in a school that supports his secular activism.”
Principal Uttermark and the Aberdeen Public Schools have been phenomenal to work with. This is a principal and a school district that clearly has the best interest of their students on their minds, and we are so thrilled to have been able to be partners with them to resolve this situation.