Friday, September 30, 2011

Tennessee Teachers' Bowing Heads Verboten

The Westmoreland Middle School principal reprimanded football coaches for giving an appearance of praying while students chose to hold their own post-game prayer, and then all staff were told to not be seen by students at Wednesday's "See You At the Pole" national prayer event.

"Silent prayer" is discouraged as well, because legally, "it's a gray area."

UPDATE 10/5/11: Citizens filling gym express outrage at religious liberty crackdown

-- From "Teachers Told Not To Bow Heads, Pray In Public" by Todd Starnes, FOX News Radio 9/28/11

Sumner County school officials sent guidelines to staff members in advance of today’s “See You At the Pole” prayer event. Christian teenagers around the nation are gathering around their campus flag poles before class to pray for their schools, the nation and each other.

“When a teacher or administrator participates in events such as See You at the Pole, it is possible for a student to confuse a teacher or administrator’s personal speech with their official speech,” read a portion of the guidelines obtained by The Tennessean.

The school’s new policy prohibits staff members from engaging in “any conduct that creates an appearance of endorsement of the organization’s or club’s messages or ideas.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Student prayer event has strict guidelines for teachers" by Jennifer Easton, Sumner County Publications posted at The Tennessean 9/26/11

The new rules fall in line with revised policies approved by the Sumner County Board of Education in response to a lawsuit filed in May by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee accusing the district of promoting Christianity. A jury trial is scheduled for June 2012.

School board policy doesn’t specifically address silent prayer, but it’s a gray area that should be avoided by employees, said Jeremy Johnson, Sumner County Schools’ spokesman.

As a result of the ACLU-TN lawsuit and new board policies, some administrators have been skittish about permitting See You At The Pole events this year, [said, Jason Cline, area director of the Northern Middle Tennessee chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes].

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 12/9/11: School settles with ACLU re: May 2011 lawsuit

From "Teachers Not Allowed to Bow Heads, Pray Silently by School Board" by Eryn Sun, Christian Post Reporter 9/28/11

Accusing schools of endorsing religious activity as far back as 2006, ranging from invocations at school board meetings, prayer over speakers, and youth ministers proselytizing on campus, the ACLU decided to take action to stop the exercise of alleged school-endorsed religion in public schools.

“The pattern and practice of school-sponsored religious activities in Sumner County is so egregious that we had no choice but to file this lawsuit,” ACLU-TN Executive Director Hedy Weinberg expressed in a statement.

When asked if there were any complications or trouble during the See You At The Pole Day event, Sumner County school officials did not immediately respond to The Christian Post.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.