FFRF: students can give thanks without a god (July 29, 2013)

Thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, future celebrations at an elementary school in Mount Vernon, Ohio, will not include school-sponsored prayer.

A concerned local resident brought the constitutional violation to FFRF’s attention after the local newspaper featured a picture of praying students at Pleasant Street Elementary School’s 2012 Thanksgiving feast.

The newspaper reported that a minister led the students in a prayer before they ate their Thanksgiving meal.

FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert sent a December 6, 2012 letter to Norwalk City School District Superintendent Dennis Doughty asking that the school not sponsor prayers in the future.

“These young school children cannot possibly be able to discern that the school district does not endorse the religious messages embodied in the Thanksgiving feast prayers,” Markert wrote.

Doughty responded on July 29, 2013, that the prayers will not happen again.

“The principal contacted the individual [who said the prayer] and asked that the process not take place again,” Doughty wrote. “We have many individuals of different races, ethnicity, religious and cultural backgrounds in our schools and we respect those differences.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation