Thursday, July 18, 2013

SC School Ensures Prayer Freedom Despite Lawsuit

In response to a lawsuit last year by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation representing a single atheist opposing a student who volunteered a prayer at the Irmo High School graduation ceremony, the South Carolina Lexington-Richland (counties) School District has approved a new graduation prayer policy.

For background, read Lord's Prayer at South Carolina Graduation, Atheists Fume and also read ACLU Bullies Michigan School into Ban on Student Prayer as well as Texas Law Tells Schools to Ignore Atheist Threats

-- From "Lexington-Richland 5 revamps graduation prayer guidelines" by Tim Flach, The State (Columbia, SC) 7/15/13

School Board members gave initial approval to a plan for student-led messages at graduation and athletics games that could be a prayer, pep talk, moment of silence or commentary.

The only restriction is that remarks cannot be obscene or profane.

The new approach is “the very best way we could keep prayer” possible at those events, school spokesman Mark Bounds told the board.

Graduation invocations at Chapin, Dutch Fork and Irmo high schools are in limbo since a legal effort began last year to stop the practice.

The change by school leaders was developed with advice from the Liberty Institute, a Dallas-based think tank that specializes in supporting student prayer.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Lexington-Richland 5 Changing Graduation Prayer Policy" by Tiffany Barkley (Editor), Irmo-SevenOaks Patch 7/16/13

The previous version of the policy allowed for benedictions or invocations at a graduation if the majority of the senior class voted in favor of it, according to board documents.

The district's policy is under legal attack after Matthew "Max" Nielson, a May 2012 Irmo High School graduate, sued the district, along with the Freedom from Religion Foundation, over a prayer spoken during graduation that year.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "New Prayer Policy Approved by SC School District, Giving Students Control of Decision Whether to Pray at Events" By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter 7/17/13

This new proposal differs from the school's previous policy that allowed students to decide on whether to have a prayer at school functions based on a majority vote on behalf of the graduating class, with counsel from the school principal.

The new policy puts the decision of saying a prayer firmly in the hands of the student speaking at the event, and looks to ensure that the school remains uninvolved with religious expression on campus.

Robert Gantt, chairman of School District 5, previously confirmed that the board was seeking to avoid going to court with the FFRF in the fall by amending its prayer policy.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Student suing school district over pre-graduation prayer" by Meaghan Norman, WIS-TV10 (Columbia, SC) 5/30/12

For a few minutes before the graduates got their diplomas, the commencement prayer was read by a fellow student.

[Max] Nielson voted against the prayer when graduating seniors were given ballots earlier in the school year, but says he did not raise his concerns with district leaders earlier because he didn't know until recently that he could take legal action.

Nielson is an Atheist but says his lawsuit against the school district has nothing to do with religion.

"This is about a policy it's not about a prayer or a religion, it's about a policy that allows for the violation of student rights," Nielson said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Atheists: Short on Lawyers to Sue ALL Christians as well as Atheists Threaten to Sue Every School in Mississippi

Because of the intimidation tactics of atheist lawyer organizations, state governments across America are educating its citizens on constitutional religious liberty by passing laws in Texas, and Louisiana, and North Carolina, and South Carolina, and Missouri, and Mississippi, and Florida, and Tennessee.

To understand why such laws ensuring religious liberty are necessary, read Humanists Threaten Missouri School over Prayer and also about myriad attacks on Christians via public schools (see article list at bottom).