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Illegal Prayer Assembly In School - Why is this ok? ***ETA***

Posted by on May. 18, 2013 at 12:53 PM
  • 143 Replies


ETA: Here is a link to the first letter the FFRF wrote to the superintendent in which they lay out the illegality of the incident.


http://ffrf.org/uploads/legal/Lumpkin-letter.pdf


The second letter is linked in the article below.



http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/15/even-more-awful-details-about-the-public-school-that-allowed-students-to-skip-class-to-pray/

Here’s the story of what happened at Lumpkin County High School (Georgia) as I wrote about it a week ago:

50 students prayed together (with an adult coach) for more than six hours, causing them to miss their classes. Four faculty members were also part of the prayer group. Superintendent Dewey Moye said he wouldn’t punish anybody over the incident.


Now, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is saying the situation is even worse than we were led to believe (PDF)… in four specific areas.

1) It wasn’t just four faculty members. The number is actually closer to 12:

We have confirmation that some students went through entire class periods without any adult supervision or teacher present to actually do their job — teach…

I would lose my job in a heartbeat if I did this.

2) Staff members who participated are related to members of the School Board — so they likely knew they wouldn’t get disciplined for this:

We have also been told that at least three of the staff members who participated in the prayers are related to Lumpkin County Board of Education members, and in one instance, is married to a board member.

Would there have been a punishment if staffers who were not related to board members tried something like this?

3) The principal was aware the prayers were happening early on during the school day:

We have been informed that [Principal Rick] Conner left campus early that morning for an all day meeting. however, we also understand that Conner was at least aware that the incident was occurring before he left campus — and that he did nothing to stop the illegal assembly.

So the Principal, the Superintendent, and the school board were all in on it, it seems.

4) Random adults entered campus to pray with the students.

… it has been reported to FFRF that at least three adult inividuals with no school affiliation or authority entered the campus, went to the gym, and joined the students and staff in prayer.

This is such a security violation. It puts all the students in harm’s way when adults just walk onto campus without prior notification.

FFRF added that one of those adults went to the cafeteria and “harangued students for not participating in the prayers.”

Unrelated, but also disturbing, is the revelation that Principal Conner once berated a science teacher for teaching evolution:

In a New York Times article from 2006, a biology teacher, wishing to teach evolution, had to go through a meeting with Conner regarding her class. She relates the experience:

“He took a Bible off the bookshelf behind him and said, ‘[I] believe in everything in this book, do you?’ I told him, ‘I really feel uncomfortable about your asking that question.’ [But] he wouldn’t let it go.”

This teacher eventually had to fill out a grievance because she was being “threatened and harassed” by staff for following the approved curriculum. This all occurred under Conner’s, and for that matter, your, watch. This presents serious issues regarding Conner’s knowledge and complicity in the illegal incident. Surely if he’s willing to inject religion into the public school in one instance he is willing to facilitate, participate, or allow it in another instance.

This is so ridiculously illegal on so many levels. FFRF is called for the permanent removal of all staff members involved in this incident. If I were a parent, though, that wouldn’t be justice enough. They send their children to school assuming teachers and administrators are doing everything they can to make school a safe, welcoming environment for everybody. This incident shows that people in leadership roles cared more about appeasing God than doing what’s best for students. They didn’t care about educating them, they didn’t care about the safety of other students, they didn’t care about the students left unattended in several classrooms.

There should be a national outcry over this behavior. And if we weren’t talking about Christian prayer, there probably would be.

Just ask yourself how people would be reacting if we were talking about atheist or Muslim students and staffers acting the same way.

People would have been fired long ago.

And they should be fired now.


What the hell?? Why is this ok?


by on May. 18, 2013 at 12:53 PM
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Replies (1-10):
stormcris
by Christy on May. 18, 2013 at 12:56 PM
5 moms liked this

It is ok because the position only applies if the school lead the prayer and forced attendance. Students can pray wherever they like. However, truancy is not excused because they were praying so I do not understand why they did not get a punishment for such. The only way this would create an issue is if the coach or another teacher made the plan for it. I didn't see it in the post so if I missed it...my mistake.

MelanieJK
by Silver Member on May. 18, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Doesn't sound OK to me.  

If the people doing it or allowing it are the people who have to decide how to handle it you have to get outsiders to step in.  That sounds like it's happening as it should.    They weren't exactly sneaking around trying to get away with something.

Della529
by Matlock on May. 18, 2013 at 1:24 PM

 According to the PDF, a teacher did lead this prayer.

SecularMomma
by Member on May. 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM


Yeah, I understand it was a student led prayer. But 12 teachers abandoned their classes leaving students unattended for more than half the school day and went unpunished. They should be fired. And they would have been had it been any other circumstance.

Quoting stormcris:

It is ok because the position only applies if the school lead the prayer and forced attendance. Students can pray wherever they like. However, truancy is not excused because they were praying so I do not understand why they did not get a punishment for such. The only way this would create an issue is if the coach or another teacher made the plan for it. I didn't see it in the post so if I missed it...my mistake.



SecularMomma
by Member on May. 18, 2013 at 1:28 PM

I didnt read the PDF... looking at it now. In the previous article it said that the students came to the coach before school started and prayed together and it progressed from there.


Quoting Della529:

 According to the PDF, a teacher did lead this prayer.



stormcris
by Christy on May. 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

I think some sort of punishment should be dealt out for that and for the kids truancy.

Quoting SecularMomma:


Yeah, I understand it was a student led prayer. But 12 teachers abandoned their classes leaving students unattended for more than half the school day and went unpunished. They should be fired. And they would have been had it been any other circumstance.

Quoting stormcris:

It is ok because the position only applies if the school lead the prayer and forced attendance. Students can pray wherever they like. However, truancy is not excused because they were praying so I do not understand why they did not get a punishment for such. The only way this would create an issue is if the coach or another teacher made the plan for it. I didn't see it in the post so if I missed it...my mistake.




Della529
by Matlock on May. 18, 2013 at 1:34 PM
1 mom liked this

 First page, last paragraph (it continues to the second page).  I'd copy it, but I've never learned to do that from a PDF, lol :D

Seems the reporting wasn't as in depth perhaps.

Quoting SecularMomma:

I didnt read the PDF... looking at it now. In the previous article it said that the students came to the coach before school started and prayed together and it progressed from there.

 

Quoting Della529:

 According to the PDF, a teacher did lead this prayer.

 

 

 

lga1965
by on May. 18, 2013 at 1:51 PM
1 mom liked this

 It's not okay.

It just occurred to me.....,HOW can a group of people manage to spend SIX HOURS praying?And WHY?

I believe in God-I'm not an Atheist-I pray too----but I think these people are hallucinating if they think this is necessary and if they think it is even okay!

Relatives,hmmm? They sound like they think they are "special".

..MoonShine..
by Redwood Witch on May. 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM
1 mom liked this
It's not ok.

Let me clarify, though. I'm not saying prayer isn't ok. Those teachers, the coach...they should have been sending those students back to class. They should have been doing their jobs.
Mipsy
by Bronze Member on May. 18, 2013 at 3:47 PM
I just don't see why they felt the need to do that on a school day. Why not a Saturday or even Sunday? And allowing others on to campus? We have enough issues with safety in our school, thats just beyond urresponsible imo. They should all be getting in trouble. There's a time and place for everything, school is not the time nor place for a 6 hour prayer!
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