Freedom From Religion group wants Appleton School Board member restrained

Posted at 5:25 p.m. on November 20, 2017

The Brillion News

MADISON – The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is asking the Appleton Area School District to restrain a school board member from promoting his religious beliefs at school events.

The group cited a media report that school board member Alvin Dupree spoke at the Appleton North High School graduation as part of the program, and his speech promoted Christianity, referring to “Jesus Christ.”

In a November 16 letter sent to the Appleton Area School District, FFRF informed the district superintendent that it is unconstitutional for school district representatives to promote religion during school-sponsored events.

“As a member of the school board, Dupree obviously speaks on the school district’s behalf when he speaks at a high school graduation,” FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne wrote in the letter.

The FFRF said Dupree’s position as a school board member speaking at a district-sponsored event makes the district’s endorsement of his religious statements clear.

“Any reasonable person would understand Dupree’s Christian promotion to represent the beliefs of the entire school district,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor in a November 20 press release.

FFRF wants a written assurance that Dupree will not promote religion while acting in his capacity as a district representative in the future.

Dupree’s Facebook page lists him as senior pastor of the Family First Ministries Church of God in Christ.

In the photo accompanying this story, the members of the Appleton Area School District Board of Education are: (front row, l-r) Alvin T. Dupree, Diane S. Barkmeier, and Kay S. Eggert; (back row) Leah C. Olson, Timothy R. McKeag, James R. Bowman and Barry P. O’Connor.

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