Liberty Middle School in Kansas discontinued its participation in Operation Christmas Child after the Freedom From Religion Foundation formally complained to the school district about "multiple constitutional violations."
"Regarding our students' participation in ‘Operation Christmas Child,' we are discontinuing that effort upon learning that its mission is more sectarian in nature than we realized," said Pratt School District Superintendent Tony Helfrich in a response letter to FFRF.
FFRF's letter to Helfrich asked that the school "cease participation in Operation Christmas Child or taking any other action promoting Christianity like including religious references over morning announcements."
The group also called Samaritan's Purse, which organizes Operation Christmas Child, "a pervasively sectarian religious organization."
"A lot of these groups rely on school authorities being ignorant about their mission," FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said. "We appreciate how swiftly the district discontinued the fundraising after our alert."
FFRF said they were alerted of "many egregious constitutional violations" from a "concerned staff member" at Liberty Middle School, including "See You at the Pole," and the school's vice principal's use of "religious messages and bible quotes in his official District communications."
🔦 Operation Christmas Child is an annual project which sends shoeboxes filled with gifts for children in more than 160 nations. The shoeboxes also include a booklet that teaches about Jesus Christ.
"More kids have heard about Christ through these shoebox distributions than ever heard about Christ in stadiums with my grandfather [Billy Graham]," said Edward Graham, vice president of programs and government relations at Operation Christmas Child.