FFRF gets daily Lord’s Prayer halted in La. classroom

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has brought the Calcasieu Parish School District back in line with the Constitution.

A concerned parent reported that their child’s kindergarten teacher at Bell City High School in Lake Charles, La., had been leading the class in reciting the Lord’s Prayer every school day before lunch.

FFRF took action to ensure that the First Amendment rights of these students to be free from religious indoctrination was restored.

“[The teacher] has violated the trust that our complainant and all other parents place in Calcasieu Parish School District teachers to follow the Constitution and refrain from imposing their own religious beliefs on the children they teach,” FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Legal Fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote to Superintendent Shannon LaFargue.

It is well settled that public schools may not show favoritism toward or coerce belief or participation in religion or prayer. When a kindergarten teacher abuses their position to coerce young students to pray, the teacher violates the First Amendment rights of students.

School districts have an obligation to ensure that their teachers are not using their positions to indoctrinate students. Parents have the constitutional right to determine their children’s religious or nonreligious upbringing.

After the state/church watchdog reached out to the district, LaFargue confirmed in an email that the teacher was instructed to cease leading the kindergarten students in prayer.

FFRF is pleased to see success in its work to uphold children’s First Amendment rights.

“Public school teachers are entrusted to lead their students academically, not on matters of religion,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Our public schools exist to educate, not to indoctrinate a captive audience of vulnerable 5-year-olds in the personal religious views of teachers.”

​​The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 40,000 members across the country, including members in Louisiana. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

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Freedom From Religion Foundation

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