Bossier Parish school board takes action against ACLU allegations
BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) -
Bossier Parish school board says according to their attorneys the allegations made by the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana had no factual or legal basis.
In a stance of solidarity a crowd raised their heads from prayer during Thursday’s school board meeting.
"We as a community are saying we aren't going to sit around and tell us what we can and can't say," said Cypress Baptist church pastor John Fream.
Many turned out for the meeting in support of Jason Roland the Principal of Airline high school despite the allegations brought against him and the school by the ACLU.
"We believe it’s okay for our principal to say God bless you, we believe it’s okay for our students to pray in school," said Fream.
Last Thursday Bossier Parish schools received a warning letter from ACLU regarding Christian references made by the principal, and prayer boxes that were created by students in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
KSLA news 12 is told the prayer boxes were never even put out in the schools. A student tweeted about them and shortly after ACLU claims they received a complaint.
FCA members say it was their idea to make the boxes.
"FCA is very open and very loving towards the community, and they want to do what they can outwardly," said FCA member Leah Huber.
To students it all seems harmless but ACLU says the boxes and Principal Roland are actions violated the first amendment.
"What about our rights, and what about principal's rights to believe in God," said Fream.
"It's important that we are here to back up our friend’s family and leaders, because we are going to be the leaders one day," said student Erin Bullock. On Saturday a prayer rally will be held at Airline high at 8 a.m.
The Bossier Parish school board issued the following statement:
The Bossier Parish School Board is committed to honoring state and federal law as it relates to the rights of all students, regardless of their religious beliefs. Within the last week, the ACLU has complained about alleged practices at Airline High School relative to prayer, the principal’s monthly messages, prayer boxes and the content of the school’s website. The system has also received Freedom Guard’s open response to the ACLU’s allegations and legal analysis.
The Board’s counsel has investigated the allegations raised by the ACLU and found them to be without a factual or legal basis. At the same time, the Board wishes to publicly reaffirm its intent to operate a successful school district in which equal access is recognized and the legal rights of all students are respected, including those of its students who wish to engage in student-lead, student-initiated religious expression.
This Statement is being entered into the official minutes of this Board and released to the press. Copies are being sent to the Governor, the State Superintendent of Education, members of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Executive Director of the Louisiana School Board Association as such persons and entities, along with the members of our school communities and parents, are stake-holders in our school system.
The Board and its administration welcome meaningful discussion of this and any issue but will base their decisions on the law and facts as they know them to exist. Decisions in the best interest of our students can never result from threats and intimidation.