Despite Ban, Tennessee Cheerleaders Continue To Pray In School

| by Michael Allen

Oneida High School cheerleaders are praying before football games, despite the Oneida Special School District's decision to not authorize prayers.

The Tennessee school district got letters from the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation who complained about school-sanctioned prayers over the loud speaker at the games.

“We need prayer for so many reasons especially in our community now and the troubles we face every day,” Oneida cheerleader Kayla King told WATE.

“We were advised to stop the practice,” said Oneida's director of school's Ann Sexton, who added that the school now uses a "moment of silence."

“During the moment of silence, all the cheerleaders came together and recited the Lord's Prayer,” King recalled.

Cheerleaders from Oneida High School and their opponent's team joined hands to recite the Lord's Prayer from the Bible before last Friday night's game.

“First off, I wanted to let everyone know on both sides of the field, this wasn't our decision or the school board, it was pressure from outside groups,” said local football announcer Kevin Acres.

“The majority of people in this area want to have prayer before a ball game, and I don't think its right for a minority out away from here dictates what we do here,” added Acres.

"[Acres] called for the moment of silence and I started off, 'Our Father who art in heaven' and everyone joined in," Oneida cheerleader Asia Canada told WBIR.

"When they started saying it, the crowd started saying the Lord's prayer. And by the time the prayer was over with, the entire stadium was saying it," recalled Acres.

“In that moment the atmosphere was kind of great because it was nothing but heads bowed, and you heard the Lord's Prayer ring over the football field,” added King.

Sources: WBIR, WATE