Cottondale Elementary

Jackson County School Board, Superintendent H. Larry Moore,
Cottondale Elementary School, Principal Jessica Craven

We were recently contacted by a resident of Jackson county concerning classroom instructions given by Mrs. Pumphrey, a first-grade teacher at Cottondale Elementary School on Friday, April 14th relating to the Easter religious holiday, and its meaning for Christians.

A governing legal precedent in this matter is the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Florida Constitution, which prohibits public schools and their officials from acting in ways inconsistent with the “Lemon test.”  This was named after the Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971) case.
Under this test, the actions of educators:
•    must have a primary secular purpose;
•    must have primary effects that neither advance nor inhibit religion; and
•    must not result in excessive entanglement with religion.

We are asking that you investigate this matter to determine what happened in the classroom and, if necessary, to provide remedial education to Mrs. Pumphrey, and other teachers in the district, as to the requirement for separation of State and Church. We ask that you notify us of the results of the investigation and what action, if any, was taken to address this issue.

I took this occasion, while on your websites, to search for the student handbook to ensure the requirement concerning the pledge of allegiance (as required by Chapter 1003 PUBLIC K-12 EDUCATION) that “Each student shall be informed by a written notice published in the student handbook or a similar publication pursuant to s. 1006.07(2) that the student has the right not to participate in reciting the pledge…” Please direct me to the appropriate document so we can verify that this law is published and being observed.

Please note:
I was unable to get an email address for Mrs. Craven but have submitted information to her regarding this situation at this link:  Since this form is restricted to 1000 characters I was unable to include the letter completely so I am asking that you forward a copy of this email to her. She has been informed that I am making this request.