Parents and coaches of a Tennessee High School football team stood together in unity against the school board’s advice not to lead students in prayer and held a post-game prayer in defiance.
Putnam County Schools authorities told teachers and coaches that they could not lead students in prayer in the future after they received a letter from the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The school consulted with an attorney for the school board and came to the conclusion that the law disallows prayer/proselytizing and the courts have always held that prayer and proselytizing should not be conducted by schools or their staff.
A PCS attorney asked district schools to comply with the laws and rules about prayer at school events. This decision came after many instances of post-game prayers were held at the Cookeville and Upperman high schools.
The district has acknowledged the importance of prayer in the students, faculty, and staff members’ lives and said in a statement that the administrators have no problem with students participating and leading spontaneous prayers.
“That right is and will continue to be protected,” the district added. “We also understand that faculty and staff members cannot lead or participate in the spontaneous student-led prayers.”
This action by the school board has been met with a faith-filled response from the students & parents of the school, who planned a prayer event last Friday night after Upperman High School’s game against Stone Memorial.
Dustin Whitefield, one of the parents said that even as he understands Upperman is a public school, prayers after games may not be a problem as participation is optional for players. “After the game, players and cheerleaders that choose to will be on the field praying on their own,” he said.
He said that the school parents will go out on the field to support them and would join hands and stand around them to mark protection and solidarity in matters pertaining to prayer.
He added that it was a parent-led event and that anyone who felt encouraged to join to show their support could join in. The players and parents joined for prayer after the game on Friday night.
PCS school graduate and fan of the Upperman football team, Bob Vick, has shared an image of the demonstration that has now gone viral.
Satan’s power was defeated tonight,as the threat of a legal action to forbid prayer after the game was overwhelmed by…
“Satan’s power was defeated tonight, as the threat of legal action to forbid prayer after the game was overwhelmed by player lead prayer, supported by parents and fans in solidarity on Overall Field,” Vick wrote. “God bless the Baxter and Stone players for their faith and courage.”