Thursday, March 05, 2009

Religion In Schools Lawsuit Settlement Draws Community Concern

On Monday, the Santa Rosa County, Florida School Board met to approve the final draft of a consent decree in a lawsuit brought against it by the ACLU challenging religious practices in schools. (See prior posting.) Santa Rosa's Press Gazette reports on the agreed-upon terms. Prayers will not be delivered at school events. Schools will no longer sponsor religious baccalaureate services. School events will not be held at religious venues if a reasonable alternative location is available. School personnel cannot promote their personal religious beliefs to students in class or in conjunction with school events. While some churches have reacted to the lawsuit by planning a privately-sponsored baccalaureate service (see prior posting), other religious groups in the community are more in a protest mode. Reverend Matthew Cotten has created a group called OK2Pray that will meet in front of Pace High School on a Saturday later this month. And according to North, on another Saturday this month, some 14 churches will meet on the baseball field at Jay High School to pray for the students to "encourage them to stand in their faith."

UPDATE: On May 6, the Florida federal district court approved the consent decree (full text) in Doe v. School Board for Santa Rosa County, Florida, (ND FL, May 6, 2009). (ACLU Press Release).