Colorado School Orders Christian Students to Cease Prayer, Religious Singing

ICC Note: After three years of organizing a student group for prayer and discussion, senior Chase Windebank has been ordered by Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs to halt all meetings that involve prayer and religious expression. Although the group only met during free time in unused classrooms, the school has said that prayer is only allowed before or after the school day, meaning it would have to take place before 7:45 am or after 2:45 pm. Ironically the group is still allowed to meet during free time, they simply are barred from praying or singing religious songs during their meeting. 

11/10/2014 United States (Fox News) – Christian students at a Colorado public high school were told they could no longer meet to pray, sing religious songs or discuss religious topics during free time – because such activity violated the U.S. Constitution, a lawsuit filed in federal court alleges.

Chase Windebank is a senior at Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs. Three years ago he started meeting together informally with his classmates for prayer and religious fellowship. The young people would meet in an unoccupied choir room to sing songs like “Amazing Grace” and discuss the issues of the day from a religious perspective.

But all that changed on Sept. 29th when Chase was summoned to the office of Assistant Principal James Lucas.

“He was told that he could no longer pray with his fellow students during free time because of the separation of church and state,” said Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney representing the teenager.

Tedesco is with Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that specializes in handling religious liberty cases.

“He was told that he could pray before the school day begins or after the school day ends but he could not do it during the school day,” Tedesco told me.

To make sure Chase got the message – he was hauled into Principal Kolette Back’s office the following day where it was “reaffirmed that his religious speech could not take place during the open time” known as a “Seminar” period.

The lawsuit states: “Defendants Back and Lucas stated that because of the separation of church and state and because they regarded the Seminar period as instructional time, they were banning students’ discussion of issues of the day from a religious perspective during the open time of Seminar period.”

Pine Creek is a part of Academy School District No. 20. A spokesperson for the district confirmed that the group was told to disband in accordance with state law.

“Students were told that, according to state law and district policy, they could meet during non-instructional time,” the spokesperson told me in a written statement. “That is before or after school.”

In other words – the only theology allowed between 7:45 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. is the government’s theology.

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