The Lahser High School football team’s 11-year tradition of taking a knee in post-game prayer is now history.
According to Click on Detroit, The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan School District, after receiving a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleging the tradition was coach-driven and “school sponsored prayer,” investigated the matter and ruled that, “because it went on during a team meeting…it was not allowable.”
“The First Amendment protects religious liberty for all citizens in the United States,” said the ACLU’s Dan Korobkin, “Including people who aren’t part of the majority religion.”
As reported by Click on Detroit, the ACLU became involved last February after receiving a complaint from a concerned family–who prefers to remain anonymous. The School District did, however, determine that the football coach was not responsible for leading the team’s post game prayers.
While under the new policy team prayers are now banned, individual student prayers are still allowed but it must be done “on their own” and not during team meetings or for anything that may be interpreted as a “school sponsored activity.”
“This whole issue rests on two boundary lines,” said Bloomfield Hills Schools Superintendent Rob Glass. “We do not want to establish or endorse prayer or any religion, nor do we want to inhibit anyone’s rights to pray.”Glass added “We have to live within those two boundaries. We have to work that out and that’s what we’re doing, always have, always will. That’s what makes a good, respectful community.”
Although the students at Lahser High have been reassured individual prayer is acceptable, the possibility still exists that instances of individual expressions of religion may clash with established rules. For example, as Breitbart News reported this past May, a winning Texas high school 4X100 meter relay team was disqualified and after one its runners upon completing the race pointed to the sky in a “gesture of thanks to God.” Officials found the act to be in violation of state scholastic rules against “excessive celebration.”