Skip to comments.DeSoto Schools halts broadcast of invocation at games; delays decision on other events
Posted on 08/23/2011 8:43:56 AM PDT by Sybeck1
DeSoto County Schools will abide by an existing policy that prohibits broadcasting prayers over the public address system at football games, but school board attorney Keith Treadway did not elaborate further Monday on the demands of a Wisconsin group that prayer be halted at athletic events and graduation ceremonies.
Treadway's statement, after a private executive session of school board members at a regularly scheduled board meeting, was in response to a recent letter to school officials from the Freedom From Religion Foundation demanding that the school follow a U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring it unconstitutional for public schools to organize, sponsor or lead prayers at athletic events. The letter also called for a halt to prayers at commencement ceremonies.
"I know that they have sent similar letters to numerous other (school) districts in Tennessee and Mississippi, so I was not surprised when we received the letter," Treadway said. "I was expecting something at some point. I didn't know if it would be this year or next year."
School officials were initially guarded in their response, saying they would discuss it at Monday's meeting. After more than 90 minutes in executive session, which is not open to the media, Treadway emerged with the district's existing policy.
"Our policy is not to have prayers at football games," Treadway said. "It's in our policy manual and we are going to abide by the law, which we believe states that we can't have prayer over the public address system at the games."
He said the issue of prayers at graduation would be dealt with as the time gets closer.
Representatives of the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation could not be reached after the school board meeting to see if the organization considered the response acceptable, but staff attorney Stephanie Schmitt said in a press release dated Aug. 11 on the FFRF website that "it's illegal for a public school to organize, sponsor and lead prayers at athletic events, and that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down formal teacher or school-led prayer in public schools."
The 2011 high school football season began Friday with five games, but only two were played in the county -- Lake Cormorant and DeSoto Central. At both venues, only the national anthem was performed before kickoff.
The nonprofit FFRF bills itself as the nation's largest group of atheists, agnostics and freethinkers, with more than 16,000 members.
Desoto is nothing more than Memphis South. Been that way for years but everyone acted like they were better than Memphis, when they are Memphis.
Why not just say NO!