A Florida high school student faced criticism and discipline after concluding the morning announcements with “God Bless America.”
Sharyl Wood, a spokesperson for the Nassau County School District, told Fox a student from Yulee High School in Yulee, Florida, added the remark on his own.
“It wasn’t part of the scripted morning announcements,” she said. “The principal took the appropriate steps in speaking with the student and disciplining the student.”
The atheist students who were upset by the announcements contacted the American Humanist Association’s legal team, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.
In a letter to Superintendent Dr. John L. Ruis and Yulee High School’s principal Natasha Drake, lawyer Monica Miller wrote, “It is inappropriate and unlawful for a public school to start the school day with an official statement over the intercom stating, ‘God Bless America,’ for such a statement affirms God-belief, validates a theistic worldview and is invidious toward atheists and other nonbelievers.”
The American Humanist Association, a secular group, demanded the high school cease and desist.
“The daily validation of the religious views of God-believers resigns atheists to second-class citizens,” the letter read. “Because attendance is mandatory, the students have no way of avoiding this daily message either.”
Drake responded in a letter, “ I have called the student in this morning and directed him that at no time is he to add or take away from announcements that have been pre-approved and that if he did it again, he would no longer have the privilege of making the morning announcements.”
She went on to thank the group for bringing the incident to her attention. “It is our desire and intention to respect the beliefs and constitutional freedoms of all our students at Yulee High School,” she wrote.