Pizza with the Priest at Public Middle School

April 12, 2013

In 2013, the ACLU became aware that for the past several years Harbor Springs School District has allowed religious individuals and groups into the school during the day to proselytize young students. One such practice was the “pizza with the priest” program.

Without getting permission from parents, school officials allowed clergy to meet with sixth graders in the cafeteria during the lunch hour and lecture them about God. To entice students to the meeting, the priests offered them pizza and soda, but they could only eat the pizza after saying a Christian prayer.

After the ACLU intervened, the school district put a stop to “pizza with the priest” and similar practices, adopted new policies to comply with the First Amendment, and agreed to train its teachers about religious freedom.

(ACLU of Michigan Legal Director Michael J. Steinberg; National ACLU Attorney Heather Weaver.)