Opelika City Schools to replace prayer with moment of silence before games

Opelika City Schools to replace prayer with moment of silence before games
Opelika City Schools to replace prayer with moment of silence before games (Source: WSFA 12 News)

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Opelika City Schools will kick-off its next high school home football game with a moment of silence.

The decision comes after the district received a letter from the “Freedom from Religion Foundation” out of Wisconsin.

The group sent the letter after what they say was a complaint from someone after a prayer was recited over the loudspeaker before the last home football game.

Citing a supreme court ruling, the group also asked the school's coaches to not lead or participate in prayer with students.

Opelika City Schools Superintendent Mark Neighbors says they will abide by current law and beginning with the next home game, will hold a moment of silence at the start.

Here is the full release from Opelika City Schools:

On September 3, 2019, the Opelika City Schools Board of Education received a letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation based in Madison, WI. The letter cited current Supreme Court ruling that school sponsored prayer is prohibited. As stated in the letter, “The Supreme Court has specifically struck down invocations given over the loudspeaker at public school athletic events, even when student led.” In addition, the courts prohibit coaches to lead or participate in prayer with students. “We recognize that the United States of America is a nation of laws and we will abide by the current law,” stated OCS Superintendent Mark Neighbors. “Our students are allowed to pray, but our coaches are not allowed to participate.”

The letter received and current laws regarding school prayer are being reviewed by the Opelika City Schools Board attorney to confirm what is allowable for students. Beginning with the next home football game on September 13, 2019, Opelika High School will have a moment of silence prior to the start of the game.

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