Alliance Defending Freedom is going head to head with the ACLU in Michigan over an attempt to ban prayers after high school football games.
The ACLU complained to Bloomfield Hill Schools in February that a football coach was praying with players at Lahser High School.
ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco says an investigation proved that wasn't true. The after-game prayer was “student-led, student initiated,” and it was a tradition for 11 years, he tells OneNewsNow.
“Nevertheless, the school caved to the ACLU’s demands and shut down the student-led prayers,” says Tedesco. “The reason they made that decision is that their policies are unconstitutional.”
In a July 2 story, The Detroit Free Press reported the school district decided post-game, student-led prayers are not permitted, even after learning the coach did not lead them.
The newspaper, quoting the school district spokesman, also reported that the football coach “apologized” for being present when the student-led prayers took place.
The spokesman also told the Free Press the school district had been flooded with complaints from people who believed, incorrectly, that Bloomfield Hill was denying students the right to pray.
Elsewhere in the story, the spokesman also said students were not permitted to pray during class while a teacher is teaching. It was unclear if that included silent prayers or whispered prayers.
While after-game prayers are legally allowed, Tedesco says school officials have taken no steps to revise their unconstitutional written policies regarding speech.
“They basically say that prayer or any expression of any religious nature is prohibited at all school activities, functions, programs,” says the ADF attorney. He calls that school policy “incredibly broad.”
Tedesco says litigation may be necessary if the school fails to change the unconstitutional policies.