High School Atheists Are Organizing — Why Are Schools Pushing Back?

High school non-theist groups are getting dedicated support from a national organization but their schools are flipping out. What does this mean for the future of atheism?

High school student Brian Lisco just wanted to form a student club. A senior at Stephen Austin High School in the Houston suburbs, Lisco wanted to meet with like-minded students; students who shared common interests, who could talk about ideas they found interesting, who could give one another support.

But his efforts were consistently thwarted by the administration at his high school. His requests to form a club were stalled for months, and obstacle after obstacle was put in his path.


Because the group he wanted to start was an atheist group.

His story is being repeated, with variations, around the country.


Thus begins my latest piece for AlterNet, High School Atheists Are Organizing — Why Are Schools Pushing Back? To find out more about the Secular Student Alliance’s new dedicated program to support high school atheist groups — and about the resistance these groups are meeting from high school administrators — read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!

High School Atheists Are Organizing — Why Are Schools Pushing Back?

8 thoughts on “High School Atheists Are Organizing — Why Are Schools Pushing Back?

  1. 1

    I look forward to seeing how the commenters will make this into the fault of the atheists, them being such jerks. They were practically asking for it I’m sure.

  2. 2

    JT and the SSA are setting the stage for more continued exponential growth of the atheist movement and reason by working to provide a safe haven for secular high schoolers. Thank you for supporting my son and for helping to get the word out. John Eberhard

  3. gdl

    There are perhaps two issues: one is the blatant disregard for the rights of students – one that should be fought in court. And there is the strategic one.
    The strategic one isn’t always the most obvious, as it has more to do with politics.
    Thinking rationally about ideas is a bit different than negotiating the minefield of local school politics. Those are different, but useful, lessons.

  4. 5

    It’s time our high schools acknowledge thought. These “kids” are questioning the very thing that makes our country great. Everything! Support them. Religion is a control factor based on fear. If you are afraid of god you will behave according to god’s rules, even tho most who fear don’t abide by the rules. Religion is a joke. Let’s let the younger society talk about it.

  5. 6

    This is why America as a “free country” is total bunk. If these religionists can suppress free speech and arrest anyone who does not toe their ideological line, then we do not have a constitutional government in this country, we have a theocracy in which gangs of religionists persecute non-believers.
    This is what happens when you give religion a free ride, special privileges and don’t make it pay taxes. The society begins to look very much like the fascist or communist societies of yesteryear.
    In today’s world the only people who are willing to stand up and fight for your constitutional rights are atheists. All of the god-fearers are either brain washed and delusional or are completely intimidated by the right wing religionists and their wealthy backers.
    I think we ought to let the rest of the world know the truth about America, 2011 and publicize this as much as possible.
    Atheist Arrested at Polk School Board Meeting | TheLedger.com
    Source: http://www.theledger.com/article/20110222/NEWS/110229946/1410?Title=Atheist-Arrested-at-Polk-School-Board-Meeting

  6. 7

    I’ll tell you a more bizarre situation locally. A teenaged person at a high school wants to sponsor a Straight-Gay Alliance and has been denied the right. The school system knows it is dancing on thin ice because it has a “non-curricular” club on campus called “Christian Athletes.” So it is beginning to look like “Christian Athletes” is being booted. Unintended consequences. Why didn’t the administration do what the United States Armed Forces has done and make another place at the table.

  7. 8

    James: because by banning Christian athletes club they ensure the kid who wanted to create the Straight-Gay alliance club will suffer incredible harassment. That way they can wait until that kid is gone to start the athlete’s club again, and the next time some other kid wants to start a Straight-Gay club they will remember what happened last time and think twice, or even three of four times, before trying to do it.
    And the kicker? They will not have broken that law at any time, no matter how much blood they have to wash off their hands.

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