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School Bans Kindergarteners From Lunchtime Prayer

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Kindergarten children in Decatur, Mississippi will no longer be allowed to pray with their teacher before they eat lunch.

The school district took immediate action after they learned that a teacher at Newton County Elementary School had been leading children in a prayer before lunchtime.

God is Great, God is Good;
Let us thank Him for our food.
By His hands we all are fed,
Give us Lord our Daily Bread.
Amen.

Prayer

That news set off a concerned parent who then reached out to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The parent was “very angry and disturbed that someone in an authoritative position over five-year old’s is pushing her own thoughts and beliefs on them as truth.”

Additionally, in late November, the teacher taught kindergarten students that God has a naughty and nice list, just like Santa Claus, and that students have to be good in order to stay on God’s nice list. FFRF’s complainant told the organization that they were “very angry and disturbed that someone in an authoritative position over 5-year olds was pushing [their] own thoughts and beliefs on [kindergarteners] as truth.”

FFRF

The Wisconsin-based gang of atheists fired off a letter to the district ordering them to cease with the prayers.

“The district has an obligation to ensure that its teachers are not misusing their positions to indoctrinate students,” FFRF’s Sammi Lawrence wrote.

Students have the First Amendment right to be free from religious indoctrination in their public schools, FFRF emphasized. When a kindergarten teacher abuses their position to coerce young students to pray and promotes their personal religious beliefs in the classroom, that teacher violates students’ First Amendment right to freedom of conscience. Additionally, parents have the constitutional right to determine their child’s religious or nonreligious upbringing. This teacher violated the trust that FFRF’s complainant and all other parents place in district teachers to follow the Constitution and refrain from imposing their own religious beliefs on children they teach.

FFRF

The school district stopped the prayers once they got the letter.

“We assure you that steps are being taken to prevent incidents described in your letter in the future,” Superintendent Tyler C. Hansford wrote back. “Our district remains committed to upholding the constitutional rights of all of our students, fostering an atmosphere of inclusivity, and respecting the diverse beliefs within our community.”

What a tragedy for the children. And what an incredibly dangerous thing to do as well. We’ve all eaten cafeteria food. Those children need all the prayers they can get.

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