Kindergarteners in Lake Charles, Louisiana will no longer be able to recite “The Lord’s Prayer” before lunch.
A teacher in the Calcasieu Parish School District had been leading children in the prayer just before the kids ate lunch.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group that gets triggered by the name of Jesus, says they were alerted by a concerned parent.
The parent reportedly had an issue with petitioning “Our Father which art in Heaven.”
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“[The teacher] has violated the trust that our complainant and all other parents place in Calcasieu Parish School District teachers to follow the Constitution and refrain from imposing their own religious beliefs on the children they teach,” FFRF’s Sammi Lawrence wrote to Superintendent Shannon LaFargue.
The Wisconsin-based atheists said public schools are not allowed to coerce participation in religion or prayers.
“When a kindergarten teacher abuses their position to coerce young students to pray, the teacher violates the First Amendment rights of students,” they wrote in the letter. “School districts have an obligation to ensure that their teachers are not using their positions to indoctrinate students. Parents have the constitutional right to determine their children’s religious or nonreligious upbringing.”
The school district quickly responded and assured the atheists that the teacher had been instructed to “cease leading the kindergarten students in prayer.”
“Public school teachers are entrusted to lead their students academically, not on matters of religion,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Our public schools exist to educate, not to indoctrinate a captive audience of vulnerable 5-year-olds in the personal religious views of teachers.”
No doubt the atheists would have saluted the teacher had she made the children pledge their allegiance to the rainbow flag — or engaged in pronoun proselytization.