The cheerleaders at Oneida High School in Tennessee refuse to abide by the school district’s rule to restrict prayer. According to WATE, the Oneida Special School district recently opted to ban prayer in school in an effort to avoid any type of legal action.
Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation have been making gratuitous strides to prohibit any type of religious practice in schools. Both organizations are working relentlessly to reinforce the constitutional principal of the separation between church and state. The ACLU and the FFRF also submitted official letters of complaint in reference to school-sanctioned prayers over intercoms and loud speakers at sporting events.
The ACLU cited prohibition in the First Amendment in their complaint.
“As you know, the First Amendment prohibits government policies and practices ‘respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Both the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause operate to protect the religions liberty and freedom of conscience of all Americans. It is well settled that school faculty, coaches, administrators or invited clergy may not lead students in prayer or conduct a prayer during a school event,” read the letter from ACLU.
The FFRF also cited that it “is illegal for a public school to sponsor, organize or lead prayers at public high school sporting events.” Although the organization also gave examples of incidents where the Supreme Court has reprimanded formal teacher and school-led prayers, there’s one difference in this particular case. The cheerleaders actually took the initiative to pray amongst themselves during the moment of silence.
Oneida cheerleader Kayla King shared her perspective of prayer in school with WATE. She cited the benefits of prayer, and she recounted the cheerleaders’ collective effort to come together and pray during the moment of silence.
“We need prayer for so many reasons especially in our community now and the troubles we face every day. During the moment of silence, all the cheerleaders came together and recited the Lord’s Prayer,” she recalled. “In that moment the atmosphere was kind of great because it was nothing but heads bowed, and you heard the Lord’s Prayer ring over the football field.”
Do you agree with the cheerleaders’ refusal to uphold the ban on school prayer? Share your thoughts.
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