Prayers stopped at activities in Minnesota public school district

A parent contacted FFRF after all K-12 students in Pillager Public Schools (Minn.) attended a Veterans Day program that included an invocation from a local Baptist minister. The prayer said in part, “[W]e also acknowledge today that we are here because you provided that freedom to us. We know that that freedom is available only through Jesus Christ. So Lord, we lift you up today.” The parent also said that prayers were a regular practice at graduation ceremonies. FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott wrote to the school district on Nov. 19, saying, “It is unlawful for any school-sponsored event, such as a school-sponsored Veteran’s Day assembly, to open with prayer.” FFRF’s letter cited a number of Supreme Court cases that found prayers at school events unconstitutional. An attorney representing Pillager Public Schools responded [Nov. 29, 2010] claiming that the district’s practices were legal but assured, “in the future, school-sponsored events, including graduation ceremonies and Veteran’s Day programs, will no longer include prayer led by religious figures.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation