ICC Note: A resolution has been made in the case filed last year of a high school student forbidden from leading a prayer group during the school’s free period. Although the group was allowed to meet without issue for three years, the principal eventually sent a message to the student saying that they were no longer permitted to meet. When the school eventually decided to cancel the free period altogether because of the matter, Alliance Defending Freedom dropped the case.
By Heather Clark
06/10/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – A resolution of sorts has been reached in a lawsuit against a Colorado school that prohibited a student from leading a group that met to sing, pray and discuss religious topics during their morning free period.
As previously reported, now former Pine Creek High School student Chase Windebank had been leading the group for the past three years during what is called the “seminar” period at the school. According to reports, on Mondays and Wednesdays, students have been allowed to leave the class after the first fifteen minutes of the period, and students with a passing grade may also do so on Fridays.
“During the free time, students are permitted to engage in a virtually unlimited variety of activities, including gathering with other students inside or outside; reading; sending text messages to their friends; playing games on their phone; visiting the bathrooms; getting a snack; visiting teachers; and conducting official meetings of school clubs,” states Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian legal organization representing Windebank outlines.
For three years, Windebank had been granted permission from the choir teacher to use the choir room when he left the “seminar” morning period. Windebank and other students used the room to sing Christian songs together, pray and discuss matters of faith.
But in September of last year, Pine Creek Assistant Principal Jim Lucas contacted Windebank and advised that he must discontinue the practice due to the “separation of church and state.” ADF then sent a letter to the school and district about the matter, and received a response from district attorney Patricia Richardson, who asserted that the period was rather not a free period but considered instructional time.