All across the state of Alabama this week, high schools are starting up another academic year. This means the return of homework and classes to thousands of students’ dismay, but this year also marks something new for Alabama’s high schools: the birth of the first officially recognized primary school Secular Student Alliance affiliate in the state.
After a lengthy bureaucratic bout, Duncan Henderson and the Auburn High School Freethinkers have been green-lit as an official school group for the new academic year. Duncan and his cohorts sure had to fight tooth and nail to make it happen, but this week should see the first official meeting of the AHS Freethinkers.
(Some more detail on that story here: http://www.secularal.org/node/77)
(And the Great Friendly One’s coverage of it here: http://tinyurl.com/3zgn8ju)
I have said before that Mississippi is the last great frontier for atheism in the south. I still stand by that statement, but I’ll add that moving into high schools is a frontier to itself, and in the south doubly so. High school groups are cropping up all across the country, but they are still far from as numerous as college groups. I reckon, however, that we’re only a few years off from that changing. I think the floodgates are going to break as the next generation starts rising to the high school level, partially thanks to my good friend the internet. But that’s just my speculation.
In any case, the fact we have won the high school battle at AHS bodes very well for students in the rest of the state. I know for a fact that there is plenty of interest out there for groups, so hopefully the success in Auburn will radiate out to other schools and inspire more students.
It is worth noting that there are successful high school groups already in both Georgia (Parkview) and Florida (Rutherford), so there’s something to be said for interest in the South through that. Auburn, however, seemed to show the most resistance by far to secular group formation, and even they were forced to buckle eventually. Hopefully this means that we’ll be able to claim even more successes by this time next year. As long as there are students willing to fight like Duncan (and people ready to support them), then I wouldn’t be surprised to see a surge in affiliates in the coming years. The recent focus on high schools by both the SSA and CFI on campus will certainly help them along with some heathen muscle power, which I suspect will make a huge impact on the success of groups looking to form in more resistant areas *case in point*.
Anyway, I do like hearing good news for a change. So very refreshing. Here’s to the junior heathens of Auburn High School, a lovely beacon on the plains!