Group Claims 'Systematic Problem' of Prayer in Houston Schools | News
In a second letter to Houston County Superintendent Robin Hines, attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation cited more complaints about Houston County graduation ceremonies.
The letter written by foundation attorney Andrew Seidel says, "Several concerned residents and students have now informed us of constitutional violations that occurred at the Perry High School graduation ceremony."
Seidel sent a letter to Hines Monday outlining the complaints of a North Carolina man who attended the Veterans High graduation ceremony. He alleges that Houston County violated constitutional rights and cited several Supreme Court rulings.
Seidel said in Tuesday's letter that two prayers and two "overtly sectarian musical performances" occurred at the Perry ceremony. He says one of the songs performed was written by Christian artist Chris Tomlin.
He added, "Some of the local citizens have reacted with less than gracious attitudes towards the requirements of the U.S. constitution, retaliating against the protections of that document with the claim that "if non-Christians don't want to hear it, they can leave."
Seidel explains that graduation ceremonies are not voluntary, and that there are Supreme Court rulings on the issue.
Seidel says that five complaints from four people about the graduation ceremonies of two schools indicate "a systematic problem that requires immediate action."
Superintendent Robin Hines did not want to comment on the complaints.
School spokeswoman Beth McLaughlin says the board is aware of the complaints. She said, "It's our district's intent to comply with prevailing law in these matters."