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ICC Note: Following an anonymous complaint from a parent, Vigo County School Corporation in Indiana is being forced to cease teacher-led prayer.  According to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, middle school teacher Jeffrey Burress led a prayer at a school awards banquet which led to the complaint.  While student-led prayer is still permitted, religious freedoms are quickly being edged out of public classrooms as church-state separation groups gain more power.

By Heather Clark

07/24/2014 United States (Christian News Network) – A prominent atheist organization has convinced an Indiana school district to end teacher-led prayer at area public schools following a complaint from an anonymous parent.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) contacted the Vigo County School Corporation in Terre Haute last May after receiving a complaint from a parent after teacher Jeffrey Burress at Sarah Scott Middle School allegedly led prayer at an awards banquet.

“Any prayers led by teachers at school-sponsored events must be stopped immediately,” the letter, addressed to Superintendent Daniel Tanoos, read.

“The district should make certain that teachers in its schools are not unlawfully and inappropriately indoctrinating students in religious matters by encouraging them to engage in prayer,” it continued. “Considering the young age of the students, concern over religious coercion and proselytization should be especially high in middle schools.”

FFRF then requested an investigation into the matter and a response outlining the measures that the district would take to ensure that teachers and staff would no longer be permitted to lead prayers at school-sponsored events.

While Tanoos said that he disagreed with FFRF, he referred the letter to attorney Charles Rubright, who responded by complying with the atheist organizations’ demands.

“The school corporation has informed each building principal that teacher-led prayer with students present will cease, as it is prohibited by the Constitution and should not be allowed,” Rubright wrote.

Tanoos told the Tribune-Star that while teachers will not be allowed to lead prayers, he will allow voluntary student-led prayers at schools within the district.

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