May 2018 Church & State Magazine - May 2018

Louisiana School District Asks Students If They Want Prayer

  Rokia Hassanein

A Louisiana school district is asking its students whether they would want student-led prayer at their graduation ceremony this year, according to KNOE 8 News, a local news station.

According to the report, the students at West Monroe High School were given a form with two options: “Yes, I would like a student-led prayer at graduation” and “No, I do not want a prayer at graduation.”

Carol Brooks, a student at West Monroe High School, told KNOE that she thinks the school district handed out the survey “just to cover the school” from a lawsuit over the matter. In nearby Bossier Parish, Americans United is suing parish schools over the unconstitutional promotion of Christianity.

The lawsuit, Does 1-7 v. Bossier Parish School Board, was filed on behalf of several Bossier Parish families who say their children’s religious freedom rights are being violated.

As AU has noted before, public school students have the right to pray, as guided by individual conscience during the school day, as long as they do it in a non-disruptive manner. Students, however, may not compel anyone else to take part, such as during a school-sponsored event like grad­uation, since their peers have diverse religious and non-religious backgrounds.

BREAKING NEWS

Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.


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