Threats of lawsuit leads to Lee County Schools banning pre-game - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Threats of lawsuit leads to Lee County Schools banning pre-game prayer tradition

(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM) (Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM) (Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM) (Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM) (Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)

LEE COUNTY, AL  (WTVM) – Parents and students at Lee County Schools say they are upset over prayer no longer being allowed over the loudspeaker at the football stadium.

Lee County School Superintendent Mac McCoy says he received a letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation on Aug. 31 saying,“ A member of the community that attended the Smiths Station High vs. Opelika game listened to a student-led prayer over the loudspeaker and was offended."

“I don’t like it I don’t agree with it. Ultimately it’s not our decision, I guess,” said Heather Hadaway, a Lee County School parent.

Hadaway says prayer is something her classmates even practiced before games years ago.

In the demand letter, the superintendent says the foundation cited a U.S. Supreme Court opinion in which the courts decided that even student-led, student-initiated prayer over a public loudspeaker at football games, violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.

McCoy says the litigation the school system was facing didn’t look favorable if they continued with prayer over the loudspeaker.

“I was simply trying to find a way for our students to continue to do what they have been doing with student-led prayer. Unfortunately, I was not successful in that endeavor,” McCoy said.

“It’s sad, it’s depressing to think my kids are going to grow up not being able to have the freedom of speech or freedom of choice like we are supposed to have,” said Hadaway.

“It is my job and responsibility as the superintendent and leader of the Lee County School District to uphold the law and defend all rights of all students in Lee County,” McCoy said.

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