On March 3, ACLU wrote a letter to the McBain Rural Agricultural School district encouraging them to alter the wording in their posted listing for a new superintendent.
Dan Korobkin, the ACLU of Michigan Deputy Legal Director, said that the religious requirement “violates multiple federal and state laws against discrimination.” The ACLU officials were particularly concerned because “school admin and staffers must have read the job description” prior to its posting. They were equally bothered as they wondered how many Muslim, Jewish or non-religious superintendents didn’t apply because they felt they weren’t wanted.
School Officials Apologize and Remove the Religious Requirement
The same day as they received the letter from ACLU, Scott Crosby, the consultant enlisted to seek out the new superintendent, released an apology and retracted the requirement from the job posting. He admitted that the wording was inappropriate, adding that it was “poor judgment on [his] part, not the schools.” He says that he simply intended to “reflect the area’s close-knit and conservative beliefs.” Crosby added that, “there are other ways to reflect that.”
Dan Korobkin’s letter further stated that, “Our constitution wisely requires public schools to remain neutral in matters of religion. When a school favors one religion over another, or religion over non-religion, students and teachers who do not subscribe to the favored religion are made to feel like they do not belong.” Crosby’s quick response eased the concerns of the ACLU, however, who were pleased by the district’s quick response and correction of the job listing.
ACLU lawyer Dan Korobkin’s letter says religious tolerance is “fundamental to American public education” and says… http://t.co/CS7B23t6o7
— Bev Cowling (@songbird_63366) March 4, 2015
The school is still seeking a new superintendent, however they have since removed the requirement of a “strong Christian background and philosophy” from the listing. Crosby further states that the offending post was not meant to “discriminate in any way, shape or form.”