Students in Wyoming’s Platte County School District were told they can indeed pray after the superintendent overruled an apparently overzealous principal.
A group of students at Glendo High School were told by the principal that they were not allowed to pray before their meal, prompting the Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom to threaten legal action.
The group said in a letter to the district that cafeterias are not religion-free zones and people can leave if they don’t want to hear the prayer.
The letter came after the principal not only told the students to stop praying, but also accused them of trying to force religion on other students.
District Superintendent Dennis Fisher said in a letter of response that his initial response was to restrict student-led prayer, but he changed his mind after speaking with an eyewitness in the cafeteria.
“It was clear from [the new] details on the matter that this activity certainly falls within the rights afforded students under the Equal Access Act,” Fisher wrote.
Fisher told the principal of the decision and the students have already prayed at least once after being informed they’re allowed to. Fisher led a discussion about the situation at a work meeting with staff, and another meeting with all principals. “I feel our staff have a better understanding of student’s rights regarding prayer and how to handle future incidents and consider this incident closed,” he added.
Alliance Defending Freedom said in response: “The First Amendment protects the right to pray in a non-disruptive manner not just in private but in public, too. The district has done the right thing in lifting its unconstitutional ban.”