Video: Prayer In Schools Today… Legal or Not?

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LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Prayer in school…It’s been a hot topic of discussion for years now.

But what are the laws and what do they mean for students?
One of the biggest school districts in Mississippi is fined $7,500 after a minister prayed during a ceremony.

Now, more than ever, public schools have to be on guard about what they allow to take place on their campus, so they too aren’t paying thousands.

Around 50 students at Caledonia High School met at the flag pole Wednesday morning for a time of prayer and worship.

“We just feel like the nation as a whole really needs to have prayer just all over it and we feel like it can help strengthen our nation and students in general,” said Tyler Webb, a senior at Caledonia High.

Today, schools are under a watchful eye when it comes to religious practices.

Jeff Smith has been the Lowndes County School Board attorney since 1993.

He was also in the state legislature when the law regarding religion in school was passed.

“Student initiated and led prayer is allowable. Now, the federal courts have limited that to make sure that it’s student initiated,” said Smith.

Events like See You At The Pole have been challenged by the ACLU but it’s not been ruled as inappropriate.

Youth leaders say they feel the restrictions placed on religion in schools shows what is to come in the future.

“When you see people standing up, I think in our country, we are now getting to the point where we maybe persecuted more so than before,” said Nathan Fitts, a local youth pastor.

As for schools in Lowndes County, the board has always followed a certain standard.

“And we’ve always had the position that if you err, err on the side of prayer. If we are told by a court on competent jurisdiction not to have that type of prayer, we stop immediately to prevent lawsuits,” added Smith.
See You At the Pole began in 1990. Its celebrated during the Global Week of Student Prayer.

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