The recent accusations levied against Edon Northwest Local Schools by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have caused the district to be proactive in regulating future relations with religious officials. Yet that doesn’t mean that the school is going to sever its ties with area churches and pastors. In fact, Dr. John Granger, interim-superintendent of Edon Northwest, has made it clear that he intends to find methods of nurturing those relationships while still following the letter of the law.
Obviously, this provides an interesting challenge. One that will require a great deal of communication on the part of everyone.
Dr. Granger took the first step in those communications on April 8, when he met with the Edon Ministerial Association.
“It was a very positive meeting.” Granger said of the gathering.
The subject of discussion was the complaint lodged by the ACLU, which partially involved pastors speaking at mandatory assemblies. Dr. Granger described these allegations in greater detail for the local religious leaders in attendance. He also told them how the school had rectified such issues, so as to be compliant with the law.
However, the primary purpose of the meeting was to lay out the foundation for continued interaction between the school and the churches.
“We spoke about how we could make a few minor changes (and still work together).” Stated Granger.
And he was confident that his message was well received.
“The ministers were all in agreement with the direction we’re heading in.”
That most certainly appears to be the case. The initial reaction from the pastors to attend the meeting has been quite positive.
“I thought the meeting went fine.” Recalled David LaDuke, Pastor of the Edon Church of Christ.
LaDuke gave his seal of approval on how the district is handling the issues presented by the ACLU.
“The situation is being handled by the school properly.”
That means that changes to the old policy will need to be made. Still, one of the big takeaways from the meeting for LaDuke is that the religion will not be shut out of the school. In fact, he has little doubt that an association between Edon Northwest and the village churches will continue to flourish.
“There will be continued cooperation between the churches and the school.” LaDuke assured.
Pastor David Miller, of Edon United Methodist Church, agrees with that sentiment.
“I think it will progress pretty well.” Miller proclaimed, referring to relations between the two parties.
However, Edon is not Miller’s first congregation. He has seen the interactions between church and school play out in various ways. From that experience, he is well aware that things will not remain as they were.
“I would think that there will be some changes taking place.”
What those changes will be remains to be seen. Both Dr. Granger and the pastors have declined to comment on the specifics of the meeting until after the superintendent has had a chance to inform the Edon Board of Education on the developments of those discussions.
T.J. Hug can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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