Choir practice in a church makes sense, unless it is the Gilroy High School choir, which was told it was no longer allowed to utilize church buildings for practices or performances as mandated by the Superintendent, according to Jeremy Tedesco of Alliance Defending Freedom.
Senior Legal Counsel, Jeremy Tedesco, disagrees, “Gilroy Unified School District is wrong to end its longstanding tradition of allowing choir groups to perform in acoustically superior churches, hurting both the musicians and the local community. The choirs are not performing in the churches for any religious reason.”
Gilroy High School choirs have been performing for years in acoustically superior facilities, ranging from a variety of church buildings, to the South Valley National Bank and the Elks club, to showcase their exceptional talent in the best facilities. The district is updating their facilities and talking to acoustic experts to make their own facilities a better place for the choir to practice, according to Jaime Rosso, Board President of Gilroy Unified School District. The board says it desires the students to use the facilities that are available in the school district.
Yet in the mean time, the choirs miss out on great sounding venues due to a few misguided complaints, and a Superintendent who does not understand the Establishment Clause. In a letter written by Jeremy Tedseco to the School board, he states that the nature of choosing a variety of neutral venues, based on the excellent acoustics upholds the Establishment Clause, and by denying the choir access to these venues, the School District may very well be violating it.
Rosenberger, 515 U.S. at 839 ( “[A] significant factor in upholding governmental programs in the face of Establishment Clause attack is their neutrality towards religioñ’); see also Gaod News Club, 633 U.S. at 114 (“For the `guarantee of neutrality is respected, not offended, when the government, following neutral criteria and evenhanded policies, e~ttende benefits to'” religious and secular beneficiaries alike).
The board is re-evaluating their decision according to Central Coast News and will allow the choirs to practice in whatever facility they desire until the school buildings are renovated and the acoustics meet a higher standard.