St. Mary Schools: ‘Christian Prayer At Veterans Day Assembly Inconsistent With System Policy’
School system officials in St. Mary Parish said Wednesday that a Christian prayer at a Veterans Day assembly at Morgan City High School was inconsistent with district policy.
A local veteran--who is also a pastor at a Morgan City church and who fought in the Vietnam War--opened the assembly with prayer.
That prayer offended an eleventh-grade female student. The American Humanity Association, which states as its mission a belief free from gods and all other supernatural forces, threatened to file a federal lawsuit against the school system unless it received a written assurance that future public prayers would not again happen in schools.
According to school system Superintendent Donald Aguillard, who talked with the St. Mary Now newspaper, school system officials "determined that the introductory prayer by an invited veteran during the opening of the program was not consistent with district policy. The district will provide guidance to school principals to preserve compliance to the law while also protecting the constitutional rights of all of our students."
The American Humanist Association said the student felt "compelled to stay at the assembly despite her sincere objection to school-sponsored prayers, because she feared the school would punish her if she attempted to leave."
School system policy only allows for religious activity on school grounds if it is student-led or student-initiated, and it must be voluntary.