THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI)-A show down between religious liberty and Separation of Church and State could be looming in Mississippi.
There have been many challenges throughout schools in the south and throughout the nation when it comes to the topic of prayer in school. A recent signing of a bill by Governor Phil Bryant, which forces school districts to adopt a policy to allow “limited public forums.” Jeff Hosford, an attorney in Starkville says this law allows students to be more open with their beliefs.
“Here what the government is saying is we’re not going to make you pray, but if the students so choose they may start an organization and that organization can set up situations in which they can pray as a group,” says Hosford.
“Basically the main goal I guess would to be encourage religion and following of the Lord in school and that may be beneficial to many people,” adds Hosford.
Some are concerned that this bill will create lawsuits; which will force the individual school district to spend their limited educational dollars.
“Obviously there is going to be a challenge at some point to the law, but the question is whether or not the supreme court will find that it is within the rights because the students are actually the actors as opposed to the school district,” says Hosford.
Students of all religions are allowed to express their personal views, but will not disrupt class or other events.
“As long as they follow within that guidelines set out by the district then the person should be able to exercise that religious right. Can they disturb class or other events by doing so and I would say that would defiantly be not the intent of the law and it would cause a constitutional issue,” says Hosford.
Senior Caleb Woolbright, says he remembers how important a prayer during morning announcements would have a positive impact on his day.
“It’s a great way to start off a day I always, me being growing up in church and everything I always loved starting off my day with a good word of prayer,” says Woolbright.
Caleb says he’s glad future generations get to be more open with their faith in school.
“I’m, actually pretty excited about them adding it back to schools. And like I said it’s a great way to start off every school day or football event or any other kind of event,” says Woolbright.
The law will go into effect on July 1, 2013.