The Nassau County School Board issued a news release on Tuesday explaining that the use of the phrase “God Bless America” is not a violation of the Constitution.
Last week, atheist students were unhappy with another student’s scripted morning announcement that concluded with “God Bless America.” The two students then appealed to the American Humanist Association which responded with a statement claiming that the use of the phrase was a “constitutional violation" and was "inappropriate" for the message to be delivered over the intercom, as explained by The Florida Times-Union.
“Upon consultation with legal counsel and review of legal advisories, the Nassau County School District has taken the position that a student’s use of the phrase 'God Bless America' during the morning announcements at Yulee High School does not violate the Constitution of the United States,” said the news release issued by the school board. “We feel that the complaint filed on behalf of another student through the American Humanist Association should not supersede the right of other students to use the phrase, as it does not promote any religious denomination and is commonly used as an expression of patriotism.”
The phrase was not intended to be in the script initially. Nassau County School district spokesperson Sheryl Wood told First Coast News that the student deviated from the script and was not instructed to do so – but he meant no harm.
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“We are confident in the legal counsel that our school board attorneys have provided in this circumstance. Our hope is that the phrase 'God Bless America' will continue to ring in the halls of Congress, in our stadiums, in our arenas, in the halls of our schools and, most importantly, in the hearts of our children,” the statement read.
Although the phrase will not be in the morning announcements moving forward, the school board made it clear that there is nothing wrong with saying “God Bless America.”
"Students at Yulee High are free to express their beliefs all day long, but not during the school announcement," Wood said last week.
Pastor John Kasper of Black Rock Church was one of several people who protested in front of the high school in light of this recent issue. They waved American flags and held up "God Bless America" signs early Friday morning.
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"I know that he was not disciplined," Kasper said. "I get that.
“But still, with the political correctness in America, they're trying to suppress and silence the Christian voice.”
Photo Source: Flickr, Lisa Robbins/First Coast News