ACLU Says Louisiana School Must Remove Prayer Boxes
There is an old joke that goes, "As long as there are tests, there will be prayers in school" but this is not a laughing matter. It appears to be a battle over an innocent request by a student organization and the United States Supreme Court.
The issue is about prayer. According to the Supreme Court prayer in public school goes against the Constitution. Because of that mindset the American Civil Liberties Union says prayer boxes at Airline High School in Bossier City will have to be removed. The ACLU is also upset that Airline Principal Jason Rowland closed a message on the school's website with the words " God bless you all".
The prayer boxes were set up at the school by members of the Fellowship of Student Athletes. According to Dane Ciolino, a law professor at Loyola University, these boxes do appear to be in conflict with the First Amendment Establishment of Religion Clause.
The prayer boxes that the school has set up don't have a secular purpose and they seem to advance religion, in particular Christianity.
The ACLU has sent a letter to the school board requesting the boxes be removed. The school board says they will take that request up at their next scheduled meeting. Despite what seems to be an overwhelming majority in favor of keeping the boxes Ciolino is suggesting in his comments to the Louisiana Radio Network that the school board will have no choice but to remove the boxes.
It just winds up being expensive to the tax payers and futile to the school district and the lawyers who attempt to litigate an issue that has been settled for more than 50 years by the United States Supreme Court.
It appears as though the issue will come down to this. The school board can remove the prayer boxes and go about its business as usual. Or the school board can fight the ACLU in court and be forced to remove the prayer boxes and also be forced to pay a lot of money for lawyers and legal costs. In a show of support State Representative Mike Johnson said his law firm would represent the school board in the case, should it go to court, free of charge.
The school board is scheduled to meet Thursday night.