How is it possible that so many public school officials fail to understand the rules for “See You at the Pole” events (where students can gather around the flagpole to pray)?
As long as it’s done outside of official school hours and only students are leading and participating in it, there’s no issue. When staff or administration gets involved beyond facilitating that, there’s a problem. It’s that simple.
The adults at Florida’s Okaloosa County School District haven’t figured this out yet. Even worse, a teacher at Laurel Hill School apparently had her second grade students attend a prayer event during school hours. And images from at least one event last year were publicly posted on Facebook:
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has already sent a letter to the District explaining the problem:
A district parent informed us that “See You At The Pole” (SYATP), a Christian prayer event sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Laurel Hill, was repeatedly announced over the school’s PA system. The event took place in the school’s gymnasium and started before school, but continued past the start of the school day. We understand that Glenda Tyner told her second-grade class to leave their backpacks in the classroom and led the class to the gymnasium. When a student asked her why they were going to the gymnasium, Tyner responded, “for morning prayer.” Tyner reportedly told an adult who objected to Tyner’s leading the students to the SYATP event to “argue with someone else.”
All of the above allegations are serious violations of both the U.S. Constitution and school board policy…
If this were any other faith being promoted, Christian Right groups would be apoplectic, screaming about religious indoctrination and administrators and teachers abusing their power. But they’re silent on cases like this.
Maybe if these kids were in the classroom instead of around the flagpole, they might learn what “hypocrisy” means.
(Thanks to David for the link)