FFRF stops Alabama school loudspeaker prayer (Sept. 28, 2011)

After a parent in the Arab City School District alerted FFRF to illegal prayer over the stadium public address system before football games, Staff Attorney Stephanie Schmitt wrote a letter of complaint Sept. 15 to Superintendent John Mullins in Arab, Ala. (It’s pronounced A-rab.)

While the school didn’t immediately respond to FFRF, WHNT News in Huntsville reported that Mullins told a reporter he was reversing the loudspeaker prayer policy he started a decade ago and substituting a moment of silence for prayer. “It’s clear, what we’ve been doing is not in compliance with the Constitution. We’re going to cease doing what we’ve been doing,” Mullins said.

After other media reports indicated Mullins regretted having to stop prayer, FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote a follow-up letter Sept. 23 to urge him “to rise to the occasion by taking a leadership role in reeducating your community about the meaning and purpose of the Establishment Clause.”

Maze appeared to have his mind made up by Sept. 28, according to an Arab Tribune story. The issue, he told the paper, is not that students are being told they can’t pray, but “whether or not a student can or can’t lead a prayer on the public address system at an Arab High School football game.” He told the paper the school “must not, in my opinion, make available the forum — the P.A. system — to Christian prayer.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation