Elmbrook school concert to move after legal threat

A group claims it's a church and state violation
Posted at 10:08 PM, Apr 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-26 11:37:26-04

A local school district is forced to move a concert to a different venue after threat of legal action from a group in Washington D.C.

The group Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a complaint last December against the Elmbrook School District after the 2016 concert. The letter said the group had received complaints about the concert being held in front of a crucifix and consisting almost entirely of religious music.

After losing a similar lawsuit years ago over the separation of church and state, the district voted at their last meeting to not try their luck again in court.

The board voted to move the concert to the Sahttuck Hall at Carroll University in Waukesha. All of the members expressed disappointment in having to move the concert but added it was the only way to avoid costly legal fees.

“I’m not too concerned about the venue, but I would fight tooth and nail for the content,” said Board President Kathryn Wilson. “It’s part of our history and culture.”

While parents understand the reasoning behind the decision, Annemarie Rosenbecker who’s daughter is in the choir said, “The values of the community should be the more central focus, not the values of some outside political organization.”

Following the district's decision to move the concert, Americans United issued this statement to TODAY''S TMJ4:

We are pleased that Brookfield Central is moving the concert to a non-religious location.  This change shows respect toward the beliefs of families and students who are not comfortable in a religious venue. We will continue to monitor this situation, however, to ensure that the content of the concert meets constitutional requirements. School concerts, whether it is the holiday season or not, must not consist predominantly of religious music. The school music curriculum needs to be welcoming to all students, regardless of their religious beliefs.

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