ACLU asks TN schools to stop praying at football games

The American Civil Liberties Union has sent a letter to school systems across Tennessee urging that no prayers be conducted prior to school football games, reports The Tennessean.

“Our experience is that many public school administrators and educators struggle with how the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom apply to prayer during their school-sponsored events,” said Hedy Weinberg, the ACLU’s executive director. “Our goal is to make sure that school systems statewide understand these First Amendment guarantees and commit to protecting religious freedom for all students, including athletes, and for their families who attend the games.

n a later interview, Weinberg said the organization sent out letters to 135 county and ciy school superintendents and directors in the state after reading reports from East Tennessee of coaches publicly endorsing prayer before games, which two Supreme Court decisions said violated the rights of those who didn’t want to take part.

The letter, which asks for school districts “to commit to protecting religious freedom,” does not mention potential legal action against the school systems if prayers continue. Instead, Weinberg called the notifications “a gentle reminder” about the issue.

“This isn’t a race to the courthouse, but I’ll tell you when we’ve not been able to resolve these issues, we have, on behalf of families, pursued litigation,” she said.