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Plaintiffs allowed to move forward in federal court anonymously in Concord Nativity scene lawsuit

Fox 28 – by Shellye Leggett

ELKHART – A federal judge said the Concord High student and his dad, who are suing the school district over its Live Nativity in the Christmas Spectacular, can remain anonymous. They’ll continue to be known only as Jack and John Doe. Their lawyer said, it’s for their own safety. Representatives of the Doe Family said when they filed the complaint, they also asked that their real names not be released because of bullying and safety concerns, but their attorneys said the family has already experienced that.   

On Monday, a judge said, the family who filed the Oct. 7 lawsuit against the Concord School District can continue to use pseudonyms.

“When we originally filed the case we also filed a motion to proceed anonymously for John and Jack Doe,”  Freedom from Religion Foundation Staff Attorney Sam Glover.

He said the Doe Family contacted them concerning the live Nativity scene at the school’s yearly Christmas Spectacular. The Does said the live nativity is an unconstitutional violation of Church and State, endorsing Christianity in a public school setting. Grover said due to fears of harassment, he wanted to protect his clients.

“This is no exception,” said Grover.

But that hasn’t stopped some from speaking out against them. On Save Concord’s Christmas Spec’s Nativity Scene Facebook page a comment left said, “Cowards…They are evil doers and cowards.”

Another…”Santa is not real, but I don’t complain about him being a part of the holidays…don’t go if you don’t like it.”

“People immediately started calling for picketing and chanting outside of the Doe family’s house,” said Grover.

Others stayed neutral, like this comment, “save the hate for something that can do actual harm.”

Grover said Jack Doe is still attending class. He hopes he can continue to do so.

“He has the right to challenge this without being exposed to criticism from peers and bullying,” said Grover.

The lawsuit is proceeding, despite the District’s changes to this year’s event to include the history of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa while keeping the Nativity in place. The legal team filed an injunction to stop the school from rehearsing or performing the scene. They expect a decision sometime next week, but until then, the school is moving forward, selling tickets for it. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for January when both sides sit down prior to trial. No trial date has been set.


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