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FFRF punishes pious Texas educators (June 18, 2012)

Byron Nelson High School (Fort Worth, Texas) will no longer mix prayer with school-sponsored assemblies, thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

FFRF Staff Attorney Stephanie Schmitt sent a June 1, 2012, letter to Superintendent Karen Rue outlining significant "constitutional concerns" brought on by an end-of-the-year assembly. A prayer was delivered during this special event, which was scheduled to honor the senior class. A local complainant told FFRF that school officials had full knowledge of the prayer before it was given and that the assembly was mandatory for all students.

"It is unlawful for any school-sponsored event to open with prayer. FFRF asks that you immediately take action to ensure that future assemblies do not open or close with prayer," wrote Schmitt.

An attorney for the school district replied to FFRF on June 18: "The District has recently provided its administrators and educators with in-service training over a variety of issues, including those addressed in your letter." He added that the district staff was specifically trained on the "'do's and don'ts' of religion in public schools."