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Atheists Target School Prayer — but Students and Residents Flock to the Football Field to Respond With a Powerful Message


"We feel like that the freedom of our students to express themselves will hold up in a court of law."

After atheists complained and threatened legal action over claims that adults have been leading and participating in prayers at an Arkansas school district, officials and students, alike, are pushing back.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, recently sent a letter to superintendent Jason Sanders of Ashdown School District in Ashdown, Arkansas, accusing a band director as well as others of praying at school events, KTBS-TV reported.

But Sanders said that the district hasn't done anything wrong.

"We feel like that the freedom of our students to express themselves will hold up in a court of law," he said. "We're not going to stop any student who wants to exercise their freedom of religious expression such as a prayer."

And students, too, are speaking up, with dozens taking to a football field to pray before a game last Friday night in an effort to defend their right to invoke the Almighty.

Fans and students from both teams were joined by referees, as they kneeled together on the field in prayer.

Freedom From Religion Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell told KTBS-TV that the atheist organization was contacted by a concerned student, which is what led to the initial letter questioning school practices.

"We were informed that staff are participating in prayer or inappropriately injecting religion into their public school role," Cavell told the outlet.

It is unclear what will happen next.


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