Students lead prayer at football game following school ban on teachers and coaches leading prayers
Students in Putnam County, Tennessee, led a prayer on the football field following a ban on teachers and coaches leading students in prayer.
“Satan’s power was defeated tonight, as the threat of a legal action to forbid prayer after the game was overwhelmed by player-led prayer supported by parents and fans in solidarity on Overall Field,” wrote one of the team’s fans online. “God bless the Baxter and Stone players for their faith and courage,” the man added.
Students at Upperman Highschool in Putnam County, Tennessee, took the lead and formed the mass prayer after Americans United for Separation of Church (AUSC) complained about “several instances of prayer and proselytizing” at schools within the county.
Following the complaint from AUSC, the school board’s attorney was consulted and released the following statement.
“The case law not allowing prayer or proselytizing is clear. Courts have consistently ruled that prayer and proselytizing can not be sponsored by schools or school personnel.”
The attorney told school administrators to make sure all policies and laws concerning prayer at school-sponsored activities were followed.
Americans United celebrated the school’s decision banning teachers and coaches from leading their students and athletes in prayer.
The school further explained their decision after some parents began to push back against the decision.
“As a district, we absolutely understand the importance of prayer in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff members. We support the right of students to participate in and lead spontaneous prayers,” the school said in a statement.
“That right is and will continue to be protected. We also understand that faculty and staff members can not lead or participate in the spontaneous student-led prayers,” they added.
Parents and students banded together and led a prayer themselves on the football field at Upperman Highschool.
“We do realize this is a public school, but it has always been optional for players to pray, and has been a voluntary event. Players that still want to pray will have to do it on their own,” resident Dustin Whitefield wrote to local media following the school’s decision.
“After the game, players and cheerleaders that choose to will be on the field praying on their own. A group of parents will be going out on the field to support them,” Whitefield continued. “We will join hands and encircle them from a distance as a sign of protection and solidarity in choosing to continue to pray. This is a parent-led event! We are encouraging anyone that would like to show their support to please join us.”
“What a shot. Student-led prayer in Putnam County, TN,” Nashville news reporter Jennifer Waddell tweeted.