Bossier, Webster parish students gather to 'Protect Prayer'

Bossier, Webster parish students gather to 'Protect Prayer'
Bossier and Webster students gathered Thursday night for 'Protect Prayer'

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - ArkLaTex students are now getting involved in the legal battle over prayer in schools.

However, students from Bossier and Webster parishes are not getting involved in the courtroom but are preparing for the classroom.

"It's been heavy on my heart for a while now," says Katherine Gatti, a senior at Bossier City's Airline High School, who formed the group 'Protect Prayer' in February.

"In light of all of these lawsuits, people are confused about what they can and can't do. So we want to show them that you can, as a Christian student, live out your faith in school and here's how you can do it."

Lawsuits have been filed, on behalf of a handful of parents, against both Bossier Parish Schools and Webster Parish Schools over prayer in schools. Both schools district have made some internal changes, but cite prayer is typically student-led.

Hundreds of students from both Bossier and Webster Parishes attended the first 'Protect Prayer' gathering in February. And nearly as many attended the group's second gathering Thursday night in Bossier City.

"Our goal is not to change what is taught in school or legislation, but just to encourage kids to live out their faith," said Katherine Gatti.

The 'Protect Prayer' meetings are student-driven, though many of the students had to be driven to the meeting by their parents.

"This is the time for the students to use their voice," says Katherine's mother Susan Gatti, who adds she and her husband State Senator Ryan Gatti have given their complete support to their daughter's effort.

"We've always told her, as a student, you always have a voice to always speak the name of Christ in school," said Susan Gatti.

Senator Gatti has previously said he feels the lawsuits are attacks on Christians and their faith.

During 'Protect Prayer' meetings, the students discuss strategy concerning their rights of when and where they can pray during school or school activities.

"We can do what we want to as long as not on instructional time," said Cope Middle School student Eli James.

"We have a right to pray and talk about God and Jesus."

The group plans to meet again in April.

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