School Staff Hide in Closets to Pray on Campus

Earlier this week a judge in Florida granted the request of Christian teachers, students, and parents to move forward with their lawsuit against the Santa Rosa County School District.

The case attracted national attention when the ACLU attempted to punish and even jail local school administrators and staff for praying over their meal. The ACLU pressured the Santa Rosa County School Board into a Consent Decree that unconstitutionally forbids all manner of religious expression at school, right down to the mere uttering of the words "God Bless."
Here are some examples of what is happening in that school district:
  • Teachers have been stopped from saying things like "You are in my thoughts and prayers," or "good heavens."
  • During "off-the-clock" breaks, with no students present, teachers aren't allowed to pray together, talk freely about their faith, or even ask for prayer. This led Michelle Winkler, a clerical assistant, to actually hide in closets with her colleagues in order to pray with them.
  • Teachers are afraid to pray over their meals in the evening, at off-campus social events, if the event was planned while talking to fellow teachers at school.
  • A teacher was told by school officials that he had to issue a disclaimer every time a student talks about religion in his presence.
But it doesn't stop with teachers. Students are also persecuted for even the most ordinary expressions. For instance, student body president Chaz Riley was asked by school officials to write a letter welcoming students to the new school year. Chaz ended the letter, "Let's enjoy being Panthers and make Milton proud. Good luck and God Bless, Your Student Body President, Chaz Riley."
Because the phrase "God Bless" was deemed to violate the separation of church and state, school officials censored it from the letter. (I guess the President of the United States won't be welcome to give a speech in that school since he might end it with "God bless America.")
Now, imagine middle school students wanting to memorize Bible verses during lunch at school. Wouldn't you love your child to be a part of that? A group of girls at Sims Middle School decided to recite a "verse of the day" before eating. They would print the verse, distribute it to their small group of friends, and recite the verse together.
But after just a few days, such terrible behavior had to be stopped by the school principal. The girls were told they could no longer recite the daily verse, and they would be disciplined if they continued!
In representing the plaintiffs, Liberty Council is moving forward with its lawsuit to restore teachers' and students' free exercise of religion and freedom of expression. To view the complaints of the plantiffs, CLICK HERE.
To understand freedom of religious expression in public schools, visit our Web page on Religious Rights. Help us get the truth out about religious liberty. Forward this blog to your friends.