Opponent of school religion says teacher insults atheists

Rick Hammarstrom (Photo from Northwest Rankin High School's website)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A group seeking to keep public schools religion-free is again decrying practices in the Rankin County school district.

The American Humanist Association says a Northwest Rankin High School teacher who is also a Baptist minister is illegally insulting atheists in class.

The association sent a letter to the Rankin County School District Tuesday saying a student and parents are complaining about world history teacher Rick Hammarstrom. The district and Hammarstrom didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The district is under federal court order to not advance religion during school hours. A student sued in 2013, complaining of a Christian assembly at Northwest Rankin. In July, a federal judge fined the district $7,500 for opening an honors assembly with a Christian prayer and allowing Bible distribution at an elementary school.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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