KTBS.com – Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports
KTBS reports on yet another public school district — this time in Ashdown — that thinks it has found a way around court dictates against organized prayer activities in public schools.
The issue arises because the Freedom from Religion Foundation wrote the school district objecting to a student’s report that the school band director was leading prayer and about public prayers at football games.
School Superintendent Jason Sanders said he’d consulted the Alliance for Defending Freedom, a group founded by right-wing evangelists that promotes prayer at public events, and said the district had been assured what the district was doing was legal.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, however, that organized prayer, even if student-led, is not permissible at football games. Sanders said the band director would no longer lead prayer at events, but students would. If it’s a school-controlled event, this would still appear to be a problem
At the last Ashdown football game, dozens of students gathered on the field for prayer before the game, somewhat akin to the gather-at-the-flagpole voluntary prayer exercises organized at many schools before classes.
“It’s encouraged the students to understand that they can in fact pray in many different ways and different times,” said Butch Riddle, First Baptist Church Pastor. Riddle says while still following the law, the letter has spurred students to step up more with their faith, commitment and convictions.
Sure. Pray anywhere, any time. Just don’t force religion on the unwilling or those of different faiths in a public school setting.