The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is doubling down on its criticism of Elmore School District after it denied forcing students to participate in a religious assembly. The anti-Christian, pro-trans organization accused the school district of "gaslighting" and said it would be monitoring it more closely.

"We're calling on the district to stop gaslighting the situation and adopt clear policy disallowing religious assemblies masquerading as secular seminars," says FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor. "Elmore School District must take action to protect its students from preying (and praying) evangelists."

The school district gained attention from the Wisconsin-based organization after Recovery ALIVE founder and CEO John Eklund spoke at an optional assembly at Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook.

In a letter to the school system, the FFRF asked Superintendent Richard E. Dennis to take immediate action to ensure prayer and worship were not practiced in school.

"It is unconstitutional to take away instructional time from students to expose them to religious proselytizing," FFRF attorney Chris Line wrote to Dennis. "It is well settled that public schools may not show favoritism towards or coerce belief or participation in religion."

Dennis responded to the FFRF, saying the event was not a religious assembly or mandatory for students. Its purpose was to help students with anxiety and emotional issues.

The FFRF advocates for atheists and has filed lawsuits over Christian gatherings in schools for years. While the group works against religion in schools, they fight for social issues to be in schools. Last year, the group urged lawmakers to support transgender youth by allowing boys to play in girls' sports.

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