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Church will no longer pray with public school students in Alabama (September 5, 2019)

A local church will no longer be allowed to pray with Alabama public school students during the school day, following an open records request from FFRF.

A concerned local resident reported that members of the Westside Baptist Church in Tuscumbia had been permitted to enter R.E. Thompson Intermediate School just prior to the start of the school day in order to “pray over” the school. FFRF probed the situation, requesting public records to discern whether the church was renting the school during this time, or whether district policies allow outside adults to enter district buildings prior to the start of the school day.

Tuscumbia City Schools Superintendent Darryl Aikerson responded, informing FFRF that members of a local church have provided breakfast for the elementary school and pray for the school and its students, but that this would not recur.

“Suffice it to say, we have notified the church that this will not be permitted in the future and, if they would like to continue prayers for the school and its students, it would have to be done at the church (or elsewhere, but not at the school.)”