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.

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Supreme Court Overturns Abortion Rights; Americans United Readying Religious Freedom Litigation

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