SC school district stops endorsing religion-based charities

By Jennifer Donovan

Florence School District One will no longer endorse Operation Christmas Child or any other charity supported by religious organizations.

Instead the district will support secular charities. This comes after a parent at Delmae Elementary School contacted the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Legal Center opposing the district’s participation with the charity.

The school had participated in Operation Christmas Child, a charity founded by evangelical Christian minister Franklin Graham and run by Samaritan’s Purse, since 2006.

The Appignani Legal Center sent a warning letter to the school district that their support of Operation Christmas Child violates the Establishment Clause.

“Public schools can encourage charitable giving, but must remain neutral on religion,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.

In response, Florence School District One agreed to stop supporting the charity.

The school district is now supporting the Pee Dee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and The Girls Scouts of Eastern Carolina.