Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Suit Challenging Prayer During School Free Time Dismissed By Parties

As reported today by the Colorado Springs Gazette, a Colorado federal district court on June 3, upon motion by plaintiffs (full text), dismissed a lawsuit (see prior posting) against Colorado Spring's Academy School District #20.  At issue was students' rights to gather together for prayer and religious discussion during free periods. The parties disagree however over how to characterize the events leading up to the dismissal.  Alliance Defending Freedom in a press release says the school backed off its policy of barring prayer and religious discussion during lunch periods, allowing it only before and after school.  The school says that the issue was never lunchtime, but instead whether students could gather during so-called Seminar period, an open period during the day when students could engage in other activities. For the last three years, student Chase Windebank who recently graduated has been leading an informal religious gathering during Seminar time and attendance had increased to over 90 students. The school district has now cancelled the Seminar period entirely for the upcoming school year, essentially eliminating the issue of whether religious activities are permitted during that time.