A school teacher in Mississippi was reprimanded for passing out prayer cards to students, and the school district is now receiving praise from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, one of the largest atheist groups in the country, for its decision to punish the instructor. The Jackson County School District reprimanded the teacher and updated “staff training,” according to the FFRF.
The FFRF took pride in knowing that the teacher received a reprimand for passing out the prayer cards, releasing a statement on its website boasting the work that the organization had done to that end.
The FFRF said, “The Freedom From Religion Foundation has successfully persuaded the Jackson County School District to reprimand a teacher and update staff training after a middle school teacher placed “prayer cards” under students’ desks.”
The school district was quick to capitulate to the demands of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The district legal council, Jack C Pickett, released a statement regarding the decision. FFRF shared the statement.
Pickett wrote, “Upon confirmation that the conduct had occurred, the teacher in question was officially reprimanded on September 13, 2023, by the principal of East Central Middle School. Among other things, the letter of reprimand stressed the seriousness of the teacher’s misconduct and expressly stated that teachers are prohibited from using their positions to promote personal religious beliefs. The letter also stated any expressions of religious viewpoints in the classroom and like settings is considered a constitutional violation and must cease immediately.”
The FFRF describes itself with the following, “The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 40,000 members across the country, including members in Mississippi. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.”
Ironically, this press release from the FFRF came just one week before the release of Coach Joe Kennedy’s memoir, “Average Joe.” The book details the legal struggles that Coach Kennedy and his family endured after he was ousted from his job has Head High School Football Coach. Kennedy and his legal team escalated their case to the Supreme Court, finally receiving a victory in 2022.
There is currently a massive battle happening in our culture surrounding the inclusion of God in schools. It seems that while both sides want to uphold America’s First Amendment right to express religion and a separation of church and state freely, there is still a lot of discussion to be had over exactly what that means in public school.
To some, it is a violation of that rule to have a teacher praying on the football field or passing out prayer cards. To others, prohibiting a teacher from doing those things infringes upon their right to freely practice their religion.
It will be interesting to see if this case, in particular, is escalated to higher courts and to learn the outcome if it is in fact tried in front of judges.
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