After opening an assembly with a prayer, a public school district in Mississippi not only faces serious consequences, but also the loss of several thousand dollars, reports News OK and Fox News.
Ironically, this is not the first time the Rankin, Miss., public school district was found guilty of incorporating religion into the school day.
In 2013, a court deemed the district had violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution after holding an assembly that encouraged students to find “Hope in Jesus Christ.” The district was ordered by the court to stop "proselytizing Christianity" and to adopt a Religion in Public Schools Policy, according to the Inquisitr.
Then, in this most recent case, the same student that sued over the earlier assembly took the school district to court again over another assembly. In 2014, Brandon High School held an assembly to honor students who earned a score over a 22 on the ACT College test. However, the school invited a Methodist pastor to open the event with a prayer, reports Fox News.
After investigating the case, Judge Carlton Reeves determined that the public school district had obviously violated the court settlement made in 2013.
"The district's breach did not take very long and it occurred in a very bold way," Reeves wrote in his statement. "Its conduct displays that the district did not make any effort to adhere to the agreed judgment."
Moreover, the judge also found that the school district allowed Gideons International to distribute Bibles to students in an elementary school, documents News OK.
“From the accounts detailed in the record, it appears that incorporating religious script and prayers with school activities has been a long-standing tradition of the district,” the judge stated, according to Fox News. Reeves further remarked that the district “deliberately went out of its way to entangle Christian indoctrination in the education process,” reports the Inquisitr.
Consequently, the district was fined $7500, which will be paid to the unnamed high school student. The school district now faces a $10,000 fine for any future violations, according to the Inquisitr.
Despite these fines, the district superintendent Lynn Weathersby commented that as long “as there is testing in schools, [she] believe[s] that teachers, principals and students will continue to pray,” the Inquisitr documents.