FFRF stops school choir prayers in Amarillo

FFRF has halted in-class prayers and devotionals by a Texas choir director. On behalf of a Texas complainant, FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott objected [in a Jan. 14, 2011 letter] to an Amarillo School District choir director leading students in prayer at Tascosa High School. “Our complainant informs us that [the choir director] is known to have in-class prayers. It is our information and understanding that each Friday, [his] students sing ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You.’ We are told that it is often sung with students holding hands and heads bowed. We also understand that prior to competitions, [the choir director] asks the students to bow their heads and then leads them in prayer.” The director is also alleged to have held a Sunday worship service at a Holiday Inn in Dallas for students who attended a choir competition in March 2010. The district responded that the teachers were instructed that they “may not, while acting in their official capacity, encourage or discourage prayer, or actively participate in such activity with students” (Jan. 24, 2011).

Freedom From Religion Foundation