FFRF puts a stop to assembly prayer (Dec. 2, 2011)

Zachary Community School District in Louisiana has promised to refrain from prayer before any district events after receiving a letter of complaint from FFRF. On Oct. 17, 2011, Zachary High School held a district-wide assembly to celebrate its recent ranking in the state’s accountability plan. Before the start of the assembly, the parents and students in attendance were asked to bow their heads in prayer as an invocation was given over the PA system.

Patrick Elliott, an FFRF staff attorney, sent a letter to Zachary Community School District Superintendent Warren Drake on behalf of a concerned district parent. Elliott requested that Superintendent Drake commence an immediate investigation into the illegal prayer and informed him that prayer offered at school-sponsored events would “lead anyone participating or in attendance to believe that Zachary Community School District is endorsing religion.” Furthermore, Elliott pointed out that prayer at a school-sponsored event violated the District’s own policy, which states that “no student attending the school shall be required to participate in any religious activity at school.”

In a Dec. 2 response, Superintendent Drake ensured FFRF that he apologized “if anyone was offended as this was not our intent and [we] will refrain from saying a prayer at any such event in the future.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation