FFRF ends illegal Texas football prayer (Feb. 2, 2012)

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has put an end to locker room prayer at Bowie High School in El Paso, Texas.

Before FFRF intervened, Bowie High School’s pre-football game tradition consisted of group prayer. Abuses included a local pastor joining the team before games and calling all members to bow their heads and kneel in prayer, with coaches participating. FFRF was informed that these unlawful events had most likely been taking place since at least 2010. Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote to Interim Superintendent of El Paso Independent Schools on Jan. 5, noting that “it is illegal for a public school to organize, sponsor, and lead prayers at public school events.”

After receiving FFRF’s letter, Bowie High School Principal Jesus Chavez held a meeting with school district personnel. A school district attorney sent a Feb. 2 response: “Dr. Chavez directed all personnel to refrain from facilitating any and all prayers which are led by clergy members and/or school officials.” 

Freedom From Religion Foundation