Religion

Oklahoma School Sports Group Clarifies Student-Led Prayer Policy After Backlash

| by Nathaly Pesantez

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Associated issued a statement on June 22 in response to its policy updates on school prayer that caused anger for some, including an Oklahoma politician, reports News OK. 

State Rep. Bobby Cleveland, along with 14 other lawmakers had previously released a statement opposing OSSAA’S apparent decision to ban student-led prayers at high school sporting events, reports Tulsa World. 

Cleveland told KOKH the organization misconstrued a 1960s Supreme Court ruling that banned prayer in public schools, and did not have the power to make that choice. 

But the recent statement by the OSSAA — a nonprofit that organizes statewide high school level athletics and activities — said its June 9 meeting was to update its policies based on a more recent Supreme Court decision in reference to student-led prayers. 

“The purpose of the revision was simply to remove the express reference to the Lee v. Weisman decision from 1992, and acknowledge the more recent decision in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2000),” reads part of the statement. 

“OSSAA’s policy does not prevent students or other individuals from praying, or from gathering together in a group to pray, at OSSAA playoff and championship events,” concludes the statement. “OSSAA staff and OSSAA’s Board of Directors are not, and have not been, trying to discourage prayer at these events.”

Cleveland plans to propose legislation next session to bring OSSAA under the ruling of the Oklahoma Department of Education. 

Sources: News OK, Tulsa World, KOKH, OSSAA (2)
Photo Credit: Cory Young/Tulsa World