Mississippi Public School Must Stop Official Prayers and Promotion of Religion, Demands ACLU

October 17, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 17, 2012

CONTACT:

Bear Atwood, ACLU of Mississippi, (601) 862-8658; bearatwood@aclu-ms.org

BROOKHAVEN, Miss. – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Mississippi sent a letter to the Lincoln County School District today demanding that the West Lincoln Attendance Center end its widespread practice of promoting religious beliefs to students, faculty and staff.

“By imposing prayer and religious messages on the school community, West Lincoln is denying parents their right to decide which religious beliefs, if any, are instilled in their children,” said Bear Atwood, legal director of the ACLU of Mississippi. “All families, regardless of faith, should be able to participate in the school community without worrying that their children will be indoctrinated into particular religious views with which they may not agree.”

The letter notes that official prayer is routinely incorporated into numerous school events at West Lincoln, including student awards ceremonies, school-day assemblies, teacher meetings, holiday celebrations, sporting events and graduation ceremonies. The prayers are often led by Principal Jason Case, who also proselytizes to students and faculty at a variety of events. Other staff frequently lead students in prayer before meals and exams. Religious images are displayed throughout the school and at school events, including crosses, the Christian flag and a prayer banner.

The letter asks the district to immediately stop all unlawful religious practices at West Lincoln and to provide public records pertaining to any religious practices to the ACLU.

Read the Letter: School Sponsored Activity at West Lincoln Attendance Center

Read the Record Request

Pictures: Hallway Cross Teacher's Prayer Principal Cases's Message

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