Last week, school officials in Putnam County, Tennessee, were told that district employees were not allowed to lead students in prayer. That included not only teachers and staff but also coaches of athletic teams.
According to WZTV-TV in Nashville, Americans United for Separation of Church and State complained about “several instances of prayer and proselytizing at events at Cookeville and Upperman high schools,” both of which are in the Putnam Country School District.
Administrators from the school district contacted the schools’ attorney, who informed them that the law about cases such as this one is clear.
“Courts have consistently ruled that prayer and proselytizing can not be sponsored by schools or school personnel,” the attorney said.
In a statement to WZTV, the district further explained its position on the matter.
“As a district, we absolutely understand the importance of prayer in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff members,” it said. “We support the right of students to participate in and lead spontaneous prayers. 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.”
A great WIN for C-S Separation! “This came in response to a letter from @americansunited who wrote to PCS that there were several instances of prayer and proselytizing at events at Cookeville and Upperman high schools.” https://t.co/qdrv97MoF6
— Americans United (@america