Teachers Not Allowed To Bow Heads, Pray Silently By School Board
9/28/2011 United States (The Christian Post) – Taking extra precautions for Wednesday’s See You At The Pole day prayer, school officials in Sumner County, Tenn., forbade teachers and administrators from bowing their heads to pray while students were watching.
The decision was made after a principal at Westmoreland Middle School previously witnessed football coaches at the school bowing their heads during a post-game prayer in the end zone.
Though the coaches did not pray aloud, Principal Danny Kay Robinson complained of the coaches’ public participation in a student-led prayer.
Calling the coaches to his office, Robinson required them to sign letters acknowledging the school’s policy on religious displays or conduct and stated that failure to follow policy would lead to termination, The Tennessean reported.
The coaches were reminded that student-led events must remain student-led, as David French, an American Center for Law and Justice attorney, related to Fox News Radio.
“Teachers cannot give the appearance of endorsing the student’s message,” French said.
In response to the display of religious participation by the coaches at the game, nervous school board officials sent home guidelines to staff members for Wednesday’s See You At The Pole prayer event, where Christian students across the nation gathered at their campus flag poles to pray before class started.
Though teachers and administrators were allowed to supervise the event, they were not allowed to engage in any conduct that appeared as if they were endorsing the event, including bowing their heads.
“When a teacher or administrator participates in events such as See You At The Pole, it is possible for a student to confuse a teacher or administrator’s personal speech with their official speech,” the county guidelines read.