Incase they take the Link down, this is what it said
BASTROP — In a letter written letter to officials at Bastrop High School, three organizations have outlined steps it feels should be taken to correct problems arising from prayers offered at the school’s May 19 graduation.
In a joint statement issued by the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and state and Freedom From Religion Foundation, the groups state they are “deeply troubled” by the issue arising from a complaint lodged by an atheist graduate who objected to prayer being included in the ceremonies.
After the complaint was received May 17, Morehouse Parish School System attorney Steve Katz advised school officials to remove what was to have been a clergy-led prayer from the program. When the program was reprinted, it showed a moment of silence to be led by graduating senior Laci Mattice.
Just prior to the start of the ceremony, BHS principal Stacey Pullen said she reminded Mattice that the program called for a moment of silence.
After stating she respected the beliefs of others, Mattice said she felt compelled to give thanks to God for the blessings bestowed on her class. Mattice then invited her classmates to join her in reciting “The Lord’s Prayer.”
In its letter, the organizations state the moment of silence on the program should have been led by a school official, “... which would have ensured that the opportunity was not abused ...”
Not surprisingly, the student chose to deliver the Lord’s Prayer - while school officials sat idly by,” the statement reads.
The statement outlines action the groups feel would end “The school system’s long-standing disregard for constitutional norms,” which “has predictably bred a culture of noncompliance.” The statement requests that the school system:
◦Issue a statement to he community explaining the system’s legal duty to enforce legal prohibitions on prayer at graduation.
◦Issue an apology to the student who complained, who the groups state “should have been honored for protecting a precious constitutional principal.”
◦Consider discipline against Mattice.
◦Have school officials rather than students lead the moment of silence at future graduations to ensure they “are not exploited to present religious messages.”
Morehouse Parish Schools Superintendent Tom Thrower said he forwarded a copy of the statement to Katz and is waiting to see what actions he recommends the system take.
ACLU of Louisiana executive director Marjorie Esman would not say if the organizations planned any action against the school system if they didn’t implement the suggestions they offered.
“That’s a question we’ll never answer because we’ll never disclose our strategy,” Esman said. “The world will find out what we’ll do when we do it.”
Ayesha Khan, legal director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State left the door open for possible legal action against the school and school system.
"I'm not in a position to say we will or won't," Kahn said. "We can't make a deicision until we know how the school district responds. But there is a definite possibiity they could be facing legal actions
How do you chose whose rights are more important? The atheist or the Christian?
Both their beliefs are important to them.
I say they should take a vote, since this is the kids ceremony anyway, usually things like this are suppose to be voted on. Majority rules.
The girl can always pray silently if she loses, and the boy can think about something else during the prayer if he loses.
This has nothing to do with this punks Rights. If the school would have been allowed to vote on it there would have been no problem but it doesn’t work that way. All it takes is one pathetic ^^%&#@!$#!. So much for Democracy.
Let me explain it this way. I despise the ACLU. They’re nothing but a bunch of Hypocrites and the guy is nothing but a little Jerk that wants attention. This guy couldn’t care less about his Rights. All he wants to do is get his 15 Minutes just like the last years Tuxedo Lesbian. As I posted earlier, why did they wait until the last minute to proclaim their Rights are violated, when they knew all year?
If the ACLU tries to take them to court, I hope they Counter Sue him for Frivolous Lawsuit. Since he waited until the last minute to exercise his “Rights”, it should be evident to any Judge what his motivation was. If the judge sees it that way, it should be thrown out (of course they will appeal). This will leave the door open for the Frivolous Lawsuit. I don’t think the ACLU really wants to take this on because if it turns into a Counter Lawsuit it will get a lot of media attention and the country is getting fed up with them. I think the Media will turn on them.
Be sure to watch the second Link I posted to the end. It will show how the Vote would have went.
Well, I have to say, I am kind of distracted watching this guys video
So I read it all and watched the video finally. What is going to happen to the school?
I don't think anything can happen to the school. The student was instructed not to say a Prayer.
I watched the video and found quite a bit of it to be B.S. You’ve got to remember I know Bastrop well and this is just his Fantasy of Bastrop. It is not a town of Religious Puritans. It has its problems with Meth Labs, Crime, Teen Pregnancy, etc. I really couldn’t care less how the Christians responded. It all boils down to a Brat, kicking a Hornets Nest (knowing the out come), Crying about it, and everyone feeling sorry for him. I know I am repeating myself but when he waited until the last moment to make his stand, he lost all credibility. I find it almost funny that no one else seems to take this into consideration. He is not a Martyr, he is an Immature Punk.
So reading through all of these posts, I still feel the same way (I think..lol). I still believe that religion has no place in the public school system. I don't argue that this kid probably chose his timing to garner media attention...that makes sense to me. But I still don't think what he went through afterward was right. He does have the right to speak his mind regardless of his motives. I mean, that is free speech right? But, at the end of the day, I still believe in seperation of church and state, and still think that public schools should not include prayer. Private or seperate schools...obviously different. Just my opinion.
Let’s look at this Hypothetically. Keep in mind, the Prayer is not the issue. The issue is his, his Rights were Violated.
A young white man raised in a Black Community, by Black Parents. He decides to Practice his Freedom of Speech by standing in the back of a pick up truck, wearing a KKK Robe, and is expressing his negative feelings about the Black Race. He is arrested for inciting a riot, the community threatens him and he is thrown out of his house.
Would people have the same compassion for this guy and would The ACLU file a Lawsuit in his behalf?
The answer is no. Everyone’s attitude would be he got what he asked for. This is the same category I put this Guy in. If he really feels so strong against Prayer at school functions, he should have started campaigning against it but don’t try to make a stand at the last minute and expect to be welcomed with open arms.
It was a win/win situation for him and he knew it. Don’t get caught up in the Hoopla, stand back and look at it. He lived there and knew exactly what was going to happen. Everyone took his bait, hook, line, and sinker.
That's an interesting way of looking at it. And you are probaby very right.
You know I completely believe in freedom of speech (although obviously there are things I wish people wouldn't say). I guess for me the question is where does freedom of speech end and hate begin. Not sure if that makes sense or not. How do we differentiate between the two...or maybe there shouldn't be. I don't know....it's hard.
I do completely believe that most of us apply freedom of speech in terms of our belief system. What I mean is, we tend to sway towards that which we believe is correct. For example, I absolutely despise anything racist, homophobic, etc. Can't stand it and won't allow people in my home to speak that way. My home, my rules. But obviously it doesn't stop people from thinking what they will. I consider it hate speech. But if I fight to try to prevent that, then I am going against that which I believe in...free speech. Yikes, it's so confusing. So I guess what I am trying to say is that because I believe so strongly in not having prayer or religious teachings in the public school system, I see this as that kids rights being violated, not the other way around. It's hard to change that thinking. Where do one persons rights end and anothers begin? And how do we preserve equal rights for all? It seems someones will always be trampled.
Those 2 scenarios are not analogous. They're not even vaguely similar.
You said: "If the school would have been allowed to vote on it there would have been no problem but it doesn’t work that way..."
No, it doesn't work that way. If the law can be interpreted to ban religious prayers in public schools then a majority vote shouldn't change the law or its application. If you want to argue against the law banning prayer in schools then do so. The "majority rule" isn't relevant in this situation.
Your hypothetical black man in the pickup truck would probably be engaging in hate speech and, as you said, his action would likely be seen as inciting a riot. Arguments against laws which outlaw hate speech can and have been made. But it has nothing to do with prayer in public schools.
I can relate to your problem with the timeliness of the complaint against the prayer. Ideally, it should have been brought up at an earlier time. I don't, however, believe that nullifies or diminishes the validity of the complaint. If an act is illegal then it should not be allowed regardless when the complaint was raise - providing there is time to act on the issue.
Hello Mike, it’s been awhile and I hope all is well.
I think the 2 scenarios are similar. They both are about Violation of Rights.
As far as the Hate Speech goes, it would depend on what exactly was said. It doesn’t really matter because he would have been arrested regardless of what he said. Hate Speech is a tough one to enforce. I don’t have any numbers but due to the fact it tramples on Freedom of Speech; I doubt the courts enforce it often. If they did, Louis Farrakhan should have been arrested every time he gave a speech.
Adgal- I must admit, I haven’t put much thought into the issue of Prayer in School.
I just finished building an addition to a school in a small town. Every Monday morning before class, a group of students and Faculty would gather around The Flag Pole (about 150). They would say a Prayer, Say The Pledge of Allegiance, and then sing Amazing Grace. I thought it was cool.
Due to the noise I had all Construction cease during this time.
When I was in school they said a Prayer over the intercom every morning. I wasn’t Religious and it didn’t bother me the at all.
I have some Atheist friends and we discussed the issue of removing Religious Symbols and Nativity Scenes from Federal Properties. They thought it was ridicules to have them removed. But these were mature adults.
I don’t think the Prayer was really that big of a deal to this kid. To me, it is evident that he was just on a mission to stir up trouble. It reminds me of the Barf-O-Rama scene in Stand By Me
“And Lard A$$ sit back and enjoyed what he created.”
I think you are a bit softer than I thought. (dont worry, I wont tell anyone) :)