Apparently, the concert was graded and mandatory and was to be held in a local church due to the great acoustics there. It sounds like it has been a tradition to hold choir concerts in that particular venue for years.
Also, the administration is claiming that the choir teacher failed to submit the required paperwork until just days before the concert, but a parent stated "he turned in his paperwork at the beginning of the year."
The kids wanted to go ahead with the concert as a community event rather than affiliate it with the high school, but the choir teacher reluctantly advised against it.
Howard Simon, the executive director of the ACLU of Florida said, "I've been an ACLU director for 40 years, I’m the longest serving ACLU director in the country. But I have to say I don’t remember the last time an issue came up that involved a public school using a church for a school sponsored activity — I thought that issue had been put to rest.”
That statement directly contradicts this same issue happening last year in Montana. Compare the reasoned response by the school district in Montana to the response of the district in Florida.
Montana: The ACLU sent a letter to the principals of the three schools Tuesday asking them to reconsider their decision. “We are concerned that public school students will be performing at a place of worship as part of an event that is expressly religious in nature,”
Florida: ACLU advised it was considering legal action to halt the May event (this all began during the previous school year) from proceeding at the Moorings Presbyterian Church venue. As a part of our support, the District did a careful review of both the propriety of the performance literature content as well as the venue issue. Nevertheless, we concluded that a search for alternative venues providing a multi-site balance was appropriate moving forward.
As always, it's the students who are the losers in this battle and ultimately that is the saddest part of this entire s#$tstorm.