Band director no longer directing prayer at S.C. high school (December 12, 2013)

The marching band director at a high school in Rock Hill School District Three, Rock Hill, S.C., had apparently initiated a student prayer circle prior to performances. FFRF successfully ended this practice, thanks to FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott, who contacted the school’s legal counsel on Dec. 6 on behalf of a complainant:

“It is a violation of the Constitution for a [school] employee to organize, schedule, or participate in prayers or other religious proselytizing before marching band performances. The school is well settled that public schools, and by extension public school officials, may not advance or promote religion.”

In a Dec. 12 letter, the school’s legal counsel admitted that “the band director has on occasion signaled to the students just before they recited the prayer.” It also informed FFRF that the director “understands that he is to refrain in the future from signaling that any such prayer take place at a school sponsored activity or event.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation