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Jefferson County schools no longer broadcasting prayers before football games


A change at Jefferson County area high school football games isn’t being welcomed by everyone.

The events will no longer have a prayer over the loudspeakers. This comes after a legal complaint issued by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The superintendent of Jefferson County Schools emphasized that voluntary prayer is still allowed at school events. It just will no longer be broadcast for all students to hear.

Chris Line is a staff attorney at the Freedom From Religion Foundation. He said broadcasting prayer at public schools is unconstitutional.

“Everyone needs to be able to enjoy and feel welcome in our public schools. When you allow one religion to take over public school and to effectively turn everyone else into second class citizens, that’s a clear problem,” he said. “There was a 2000 case called Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, which ruled that you can’t broadcast prayer before public school football games because it’s a public school, and public schools cannot sponsor religious messages. They need to be a neutral government entity.”

The Freedom from Religion Foundation cited Gardendale High School and Pinson Valley High School for public prayer in their initial complaint.

Libby Foster is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
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