Senator stands behind student-led prayer after spectator offende -, GA News Weather & Sports

Senator stands behind student-led prayer after spectator offended at AL football game

(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)

We are hearing from more people that are in support of student-led prayer in the Lee County School System.

News Leader 9 first told you about this story when the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a cease and desist letter to Lee County Schools after a spectator claimed to be offended when listening to a student-led prayer over the loudspeaker at the Opelika vs. Smith Station High School football game in September.

Alabama Senator Tom Whatley says he has met with Superintendent Mac McCoy over this matter.

"I'm not going to speak on the superintendent's behalf, but I will tell you that I support student-led prayer in all our schools. I think there's nothing wrong with that and it leads to a better school," Whatley says.

Dr McCoy released this statement at an earlier date regarding the situation: 

"A letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (“FFRF”) on August 31, 2017. The letter stated that a member of the community had attended the SSHS vs Opelika game and observed the act of student-led prayer over the loud speaker. In the demand letter the FFRF cited a U.S. Supreme Court opinion, Santa Fe Independent School District vs Doe, 53-U.S. 290 (2000), in which the Court decided that even student-led, student-initiated  prayer over a public loud speaker at football games, violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution."

"The school system was facing litigation that we felt as though would not rule in our favor, if we continued with prayer over our public address system. Our response to the demand letter has been slightly delayed due to our conversations with legal counsel and conducting research on this matter. 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."

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."

Smith Station High School Alumnus Rodney Braswell owns the local business R&K Signs.

He took it upon himself to make a sign that spells out the Lord's Prayer and place it under the gas station where "Burgers and More" is located in Smith Station.

"I figured it was the right thing to do with all the controversy going around with the Lord's Prayer. It's a shame we are having to advertise the Lord's Prayer like we are having to do now because of one bad person but I think it will turn around and be like it's supposed to be," Braswell says. 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation cited a supreme court case wherein a similar situation student-led prayer over a PA system was deemed unconstitutional, but that does not stop some smith station locals hoping to bring the tradition back to life.

Smith Station locals say that at this Friday's home game there will be a showing of support for prayer before the football game kicks off. 

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