ACLU Blog


Calling all students: it's pop quiz time! Let's find out if you know your religious freedom rights at school. Imagine the following scenario: an assembly is about to take place at a local public school. It features a youth minister who preaches to students and a rock band playing religious songs. Several atheist students feel uncomfortable going to the assembly because it will include prayer. Their teacher tells them they can just watch a movie during the assembly period instead.

 What a fabulous way to wrap up Pride month!

The news was impossible to miss: Last week the Supreme Court declared state marriage bans to be unconstitutional, in a historic win for equality. The ACLU of South Dakota, with help from The Center for Equality, hosted a pop-up celebration in downtown Sioux Falls for the landmark win for marriage equality. We wanted to be the first to hand out wedding cake and offer our congratulations to the couples whose marriage will now be recognized in all 50 states.

By: Chelsea Gilbertson, ACLU Intern

On Saturday, the ACLU of South Dakota team was on hand for the 2015 Sioux Falls Pride festival, hosted by The Center for Equality. Our booth welcomed festival goers with stickers, buttons, Know Your Rights pamphlets, and the infamous PRIDE frame. We had a blast celebrating love, equality, and the Sioux Falls area LGBT community!


Girls are required to wear dresses. Boys are required to wear pants.

That statement may sound like it's coming from 1950, but some school districts across the United States have tried to enforce antiquated dress codes telling students exactly how they should dress for their high school graduations. They require girls to wear dresses or skirts and boys to wear pants. This is more than just a throwback to a bygone era; it's an unlawful gender-based distinction.

Each year, the South Dakota Legislature convenes in January and works through March crafting, debating, and passing laws governing our state. Throughout its history, the ACLU of South Dakota has kept tabs on the goings-on in Pierre. This year, we decided to send our Policy Director as a full-time lobbyist to represent the ACLU and advocate for civil rights and civil liberties.

It's not often that we get to talk about major civil liberties victories after the legislative session, but with hard work and determination we saw lots of bad bills go down in flames!

 By: Heather Smith, Executive Director, ACLU of South Dakota
    
South Dakota is already dead last in the nation when it comes to education so why are our politicians spending so much of their time trying to undermine science education around the state?  

This isn’t the first time South Dakota lawmakers have tried to prohibit and undermine the teaching of evolution in its public schools in an effort to advance creationism, creation science, and other religious beliefs pertaining to the origin of life. But this year’s bill is different.  For one, the bills’ sponsors got smarter (or rather sneakier) with their language and have drafted the bill in a way that is meant to cast evolution and other scientific subjects as controversial or “subjects that may cause debate and disputation.”  In fact, there is no debate in the legitimate scientific community.  Make no mistake, SB 114 is meant to open the door for teachers to introduce the alleged scientific evidence against evolution or to teach the (made-up) controversy. 

 
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Sioux Falls, SD 57101
 
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