ACLU Investigating the Greendale School District For Violation of Religious Rights
News reports of the school district pulling a Hindu song from the annual winter elementary concerts prompted the investigation.
The ACLU of Wisconsin is investigating the Greendale School District for violation of religious liberty rights after a Hindu song was removed from the elementary winter concerts because a parent complained about religions mentions.
The winter concerts, which took place earlier this week, had a cultural theme this year. Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, which was going to be sung in the original language, was pulled from the yearly winter concert at all the elementary levels after some parents complained and said they were offended by religious saying.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin has made a public records request to the school district to determine if the district violated the First Amendment’s protections of religious liberty, according to an e-mail from the ACLU to Patch.
The ACLU has requested copies of the program, any policy the district may have regarding concerts or religious speech, e-mails of complaints and a description of the program.
This investigation also comes after the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism publicly asked the district to apologize to the Hindu community for removing the popular Hindu devotional song from the concerts.
The song was made popular by Gandhi when he and his followers sang it during the Salt March to Dandi.
Anna Madden, a spokeswoman for the school district, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that elementary school principals in the district made the recommendation to remove the song to Superintendent William Hughes, who made the final decision. She also said the removal of the song was one of the changes among others made to the program.
The parent who complained told the district that their child would sit out if the song was performed. The school district didn't want to make any child uncomfortable by sitting out and cancelled the song for that reason, according to earlier statements from Madden.