Maryland Middle School Removes Unconstitutional Religious Display

For Immediate Release: October 5, 2017
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director - (207) 358-9785


The Center for Inquiry (CFI) today thanked the staff at Westmar Middle School and the Allegany County, Maryland, Board of Education for their cooperation in addressing an unconstitutional religious display last week.

CFI received a complaint from a supporter that a teacher at the Middle School was displaying a large Christian cross on both sides of the door to her classroom. As a result, CFI complained to both the school and the board of education, notifying them that such displays have consistently been found to violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, breaking down the required wall of separation between church and state. Following CFI’s complaint, the school instructed the teacher to remove the religious display, and told CFI that it would not be replaced.

“We are happy this was done so easily and without the need for legal action,” said Nick Little, CFI’s Legal Director. “Teachers shouldn’t use public schools as a venue to proselytize their own religious beliefs. The law is absolutely clear on that, and this display had to come down.”

“Public schools exist to educate all students, not to push a religious worldview,” added CFI’s President and CEO, Robyn Blumner. “CFI will continue to act as a watchdog to ensure our public schools serve their true purpose, whether that means challenging sectarian religious displays like these crosses, or defending the teaching of scientific fact such as evolution in the face of religious dogma.”

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at