Students from Missouri schools prayed in support of Hollister Public School in March after the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) opposed a prayer being led by a local youth minister in February at Hollister (video below).
The FFRF actually supports student-led prayer, but the students believe they are standing up against the atheist group.
The youth minister, Robert Bruce, was from the evangelical Christian organization KLIF.
"It doesn't matter if that was requested by a student, that was an outside adult leading the prayer," FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott told KOLR 10.
According to Elliott, the FFRF's letter to the school district said that it had to cease adult-led prayer in school and stop allowing youth pastors access to school children during school hours.
However, students from local schools didn't like that and decided to do student-led prayers and post them on social media sites with the hashtag "#PraywithHollister."
Carley Smith of Buffalo High School in Missouri, posted a picture on Facebook of students praying with the caption: "Blessed to be apart of a school where so many students stand up for a student-led prayer during lunch. #PraywithHollister #DontTreadOnOurReligiousFreedom."
Emily Richardson, also of Buffalo High School, posted a picture of students praying with the caption: "Ever wonder what kind of impact a group of kids showing glory to God looks like? It's amazing, I'm completely speechless and amazed as I watch a room full of kids publicly pray to God during lunch! this is what love looks like. #praywithhollister."
The FFRF has not voiced any opposition to these student-led prayers.
"It's not necessarily freedom from religion, but it's freedom of religion," Dr. Brian Wilson, superintendent of the Hollister School District, told a local news station in February, but he told KOLR 10 in March that the youth minister went beyond school policy and doesn't think it will happen again.
While that is a win for the FFRF, Elliott added, "Youth pastors have had this really unrestricted access to students during the school day to be able to befriend students, and ultimately recruit them for their religious groups."
According to Wilson, the school will still have an "open" lunch time for the community, which includes parents, college representatives and ministers.
"At this point it's unresolved, we've been talking with the parents [in Hollister] and considering our legal options," Elliott stated.
Youth Minister Leads Students In Prayer