On Veterans Day last week, students at Morgan City High School in Louisiana attended an hour-long assembly which began with a Christian prayer. Furthermore, they were told to stand up and bow their heads. Now, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center is asking for an apology on behalf of a student who contacted them:
Attendance at the assembly was required and the students were not given prior notice that a prayer would be included as part of the assembly. The student in question felt compelled to stay at the assembly despite her sincere objection to school-sponsored prayers, because she feared the school would punish her if she attempted to leave. (Apparently, teachers have punished students in the past for exercising their constitutional right to sit out the Pledge of Allegiance.) The purpose of this letter is to advise you that this practice of including prayer in school-sponsored events must immediately cease, and that our organization will pursue the matter through litigation in federal court if it does not. We specifically demand assurances from the school district that prayer will no longer be included in such school-sponsored events in the future.
The AHA is giving the district one week to respond. It’s really amazing, though not surprising, that someone gave a green light to a religious ceremony. As if it never crossed anyone’s mind that not all the students are Christian. This should be a simple, straightforward apology followed by a promise never to do it again, but if it’s anything different, I’ll post an update.
(Image via Shutterstock)