OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – Opelika City School leaders are reviewing prayer over a loudspeaker prior to high school football games after receiving a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation objecting to “school sponsored” prayer before games.
“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,” shared Dr. Mark Neighbors, Superintendent of Opelika City Schools.
Dr. Neighbors said the letter and current laws regarding school prayer are being reviewed by the Opelika City Schools Board attorney to confirm what is allowable for students.
“We recognize that the United States of America is a nation of laws and we will abide by the current law. Our students are allowed to pray, but our coaches are not allowed to participate,” said Dr. Neighbors.
In the meantime, Dr. Neighbors said 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.