School Sued Over Ban on Student Prayer

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‘Don’t let me see you do that again,’ coach threatened track team members

The American Center for Law and Justice has formally initiated legal proceedings by filing a federal lawsuit against a school’s mandate that prohibited students from congregating for prayer gatherings.

According to the ACLJ, one coach issued a stern warning to track team members, stating, “Don’t let me see you do that again,” after they assembled for a prayer session before a track meet. This directive was characterized as a blatant violation of the students’ First Amendment rights.

Despite the hope that this incident would be promptly acknowledged as an error by the coach and swiftly rectified by school authorities, it persisted unaddressed. Even after notifying the school administration about the occurrence, the issue remains unresolved. Subsequently, the students were explicitly instructed that group prayer was prohibited, and they were only permitted to engage in individual or small group ‘reflection.’

Disturbingly, female students were specifically cautioned against displaying any indication of praying at any juncture before, during, or after track meets. The school administration disregarded a formal demand letter sent to the superintendent, demanding an immediate cessation of the ongoing constitutional violations.

The ACLJ reaffirmed that the First Amendment unequivocally safeguards students’ rights to participate in prayer or other religious expressions and activities, including school events such as athletic competitions. Citing the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District from 1969, the ACLJ emphasized that students do not forfeit their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression within the confines of the school environment.

The court’s ruling explicitly stated that students retain the right to express their opinions in various school settings, including the cafeteria, playing fields, and campus during scheduled hours. Students are entitled to engage in prayer, religious discussions, and the dissemination of religious materials among their peers during non-instructional periods throughout the day.

Any unwarranted interference by the school administration with these constitutionally protected rights is deemed inappropriate unless it poses a tangible and significant disruption to school discipline.

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Chris Jones

Hey there! 👋 I'm Chris, 34 yo from Toronto (CA), I'm a journalist with a PhD in journalism and mass communication. For 5 years, I worked for some local publications as an envoy and reporter. Today, I work as 'content publisher' for InformOverload. 📰🌐 Passionate about global news, I cover a wide range of topics including technology, business, healthcare, sports, finance, and more. If you want to know more or interact with me, visit my social channels, or send me a message.
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