A school district in Wisconsin was forced to stop its preschool programme for 3-year-old students with development delays following a complaint from a group of atheists who said it was "inappropriate and unconstitutional."
Last June, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Superintendent Stephen Vessey of the Beaver Dam Unified School District in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, saying that it learned that kids with development delays were being sent to St. Katharine's, a Catholic school, for instruction.
"It is wildly inappropriate for the School District to send 3-year-old public school students to private schools for religious instruction," claimed the atheist group's Ryan Jayne. "By sending students to receive religious instruction at St. Katharine's, the district is violating this constitutional principle."
The FFRF cited a litany of legal cases to claim that the preschool programme was violating the law.
In reply, the school district's attorney informed the atheist group that "we have completed our investigation into the preschool programs offered to District students at the School. During the course of our investigation, we reviewed all materials including curriculum materials used in the preschool programs at the School, met with School staff and also toured the facility, specifically the classrooms where the EC programs are held."
Because of the complaint, St. Katharine's has decided to withdraw from the programme.
"After being advised of the changes that would have to be made to the 3K program, the School indicated it no longer wished to provide the Early Childhood (3K) program to district students, and the district has accepted the school's withdrawal from participating in the program," wrote lawyer Mary Hubacher of Buelow Vetter law firm.
She added, "Any students who were enrolled in the school's Early Childhood program by the district for the coming school year have since been moved to a program offered at a different site."
Hubacher said the district will continue to offer 4K programme at the school as an option for families enrolling their students in the programme.