Religion

Texas Principal Accused Of Reciting Prayer During Announcements

| by Kendal Mitchell
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A Texas teenager recorded his principal reading Bible verses over the school’s public announcement system three times this month.

The student, who attends school at White Oak High School in East Texas, said principal Dan Noll reads a Bible verse everyday along with the morning announcements. Clips of the prayers, courtesy of patheos.com, include readings from Proverbs and the Gospel of Luke.

“He who leads upright along an evil path will fall into his own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance,” Noll said in a recording.

The student said he submitted a complaint to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a humanist group that promotes the separation of church and state.

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In response, the group wrote a letter to Michael Gilbert, superintendent of the White Oaks Independent School District, saying the school-sponsored prayer violates the Constitution.

“If confirmed (that the Bible readings did occur), the practice is flatly unconstitutional and cannot continue,” said Sam Grover, a staff attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

The letter cites a 1963 Supreme Court settlement, Abington School District v. Schempp, which ended the practice of public teachers administering prayer in schools.

“The Court held that it was unconstitutional for schools to allow students to use the schools’ intercommunications systems to conduct daily opening exercises,” the letter reads.

While the foundation said the school-sponsored prayer violates the freedom of religion, the school district’s superintendent said he will not respond to the group.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Gilbert said he is aware of the practice and plans to not pursue action against Noll or other school administrators. Gilbert said he thinks the Freedom from Religion Foundation has a small membership base in the state and does not reflect the values of the majority of the people living in the area.

“This group and others like it, are wanting us to provide them with negative quotes to use in the promotion of their agenda,” Gilbert said in a statement Tuesday. 

Sources: KTRE / Photo Credit: Stateman, A ./Flickr