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Prayer in Schools?

By: Ann Nucatola
By: Ann Nucatola

The ACLU has filed a complaint with the Leon County school district.

Larry Spalding with the ACLU says, "The ACLU's stance has always been religion operates best when government stays out of it, and government operates best when religion stays out of it."

And because of that stance the ACLU recently filed a complaint with the Leon County school district that claims employees at three different high schools were involved in prayer sessions, for example before a football game, but not during class time.
The high schools in question are Chiles, Leon and Lincoln.

"The law clearly states that students on their own can decide to have prayer if they decide to, but school employees cannot encourage it or participate," says Bill Montford, Superintendent of Leon County Schools.

"It's not allowed. We're a public institution and we have to be able respectful of everyone. It can be student generated, it cannot be employee generated nor can the employee encourage the student," adds Alan Cox, Principal of Chiles High School.

And the ACLU says that's a fact it agrees with, but wants to clear up a misconception.

"One of the great myths is that you can't have religion in school, that's not true. It just has to be student generated," said Spalding.

Since the filing of the complaint, the three principals at the high schools in question say they've met with all employees from teachers to coaches for a refresher course on the law and the rules.

Montford says he's confident the issue has been resolved.

Leon County administrators aren't sure whether any rules were broken, but administrators say they have taken the steps to make sure every employee understands the law.


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