Valdosta students, community unhappy after student-led prayer before football game disallowed

Published: Sep. 10, 2019 at 5:27 PM EDT
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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News

September 10, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- At their most recent home game, Lowndes County Schools omitted the student-led prayer before kickoff against Parkview.

Many Vikings fans say the student-led prayer before the football game on Friday nights is a huge part of the Lowndes County identity. So, when they didn't hear it this past weekend, it sparked a lot of controversy on social media.

Now, many are saying they're hoping the fans will fight back.

School district officials say they received a request to omit the prayer from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a non-profit based in Wisconsin.

They say it came after receiving a complaint from a parent in the district.

The Lowndes Viking Touchdown Club has released a statement, saying the community should stand strong and fight for the student-led prayer.

"South Georgia is in the middle of the Bible Belt," said Darrell Presley, the Viking Touchdown Club President. "Religion is a very strong thing in this part of the country and it's one of the things that you do."

Presley says if the prayer does not get added back to the program, fans will say their own from the crowd.

The school district has not yet made a decision on games moving forward.

WCTV spoke with the school district attorney, Warren Turner, who says Friday's decision was an administration one based on his advice.

Turner says right now, they're still researching the complaint and looking into all of their options to make sure they make the most prudent decision possible.