Lawsuit Dropped Against Colorado School That Stopped Students From Holding Religious Meetings

| by Nathaly Pesantez
Chase Windebank.Chase Windebank.

A lawsuit brought about against a Colorado Springs school over school prayer has been discontinued.

The lawsuit came about when Chase Windebank, a student at Pine Creek High School, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was told by school officials his prayer meetings with other classmates during “seminar” time would have to stop.

Windebank had held these sessions for three years. In his senior year, school officials took issue with his religious meetings.

“Freshman year, me and some friends decided to use seminar, instead of talking and texting, to pray,” Windebank told The Washington Post. “Talking about stuff that matters to us and God and stuff.”

Windebank reached out to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative law firm, for help. Last year, the ADF officially filed a lawsuit on Windebank’s behalf.

According to an ADF letter addressed to the high school, Jim Lucas, Pine Creek High School’s assistant principal, told Windebank that under “separation of church and state,” his meetings cannot take place.

ADF argued the school was violating Windebank’s constitutional rights.

“Far from being unconstitutional, religious speech is expressly protected by the First Amendment, and public schools have no business stopping students from praying together during their free time," said Matt Sharp, ADF legal counsel.

Pine Creek High School has since removed its seminar time from the school day. The move is not in response to the lawsuit, reports The Washington Post.

In response, the ADF dropped the lawsuit, claiming the school now allows religious expression during lunch, reports TheBlaze.  

Robert J. Zavaglia Jr., an attorney representing the school district, says prayer has always been allowed during lunch.

“Pine Creek High School has never had, and does not have, a policy in place which restricts students’ rights to associate at lunch, and by extension to meet with others and discuss faith, pray or talk about the news of the day from a Christian perspective,” Zavaglia told The Washington Post.

Windebank sees the school’s move as a step in the right direction: “I’m actually quite excited that I was able to take this stand and be able to make a victory for free speech in public schools.”

Sources: TheBlaze, The Washington Post, Alliance Defending Freedom

Photo Credit: Chase Windebank/ADF