Students at Tylertown High School in Tylertown, Mississippi, staged a massive walk-out on Wednesday, after their longtime prayer group was notified that it would no longer be allowed to meet during instruction hours.
District officials say the new rule applies to all extracurricular activities and the club — called First Priority — is not being singled out. Nonetheless, protesters insist they won't return to class until their worship program is allowed to continue as it has for the past 15 years.
What are the details?
According to WLBT-TV, First Priority "is a student-led organization that meets monthly during school hours and includes prayer, speakers, singing and other faith-based activities."
When students found out the club would have to be rescheduled to meet after class hours due to district policy, they launched a demonstration outside the school, with roughly 200 participants carrying signs, pumping their fists, and chanting, "no First Priority or no peace!" the Daily Mail reported.
"When I got to school, I just went there and protested because I feel like we deserve to have First Priority in school because children these days need God," Tylertown High School senior Aaliyah Lewis told WLBT.
Fellow senior Kaitlynn Brown added, "Well, we've had First Priority every year, and I just love seeing all of us come together and basically share the gospel with each other."
The students have garnered a great deal of support for their cause. Parents, grandparents, and volunteers from the community showed up to the protest to serve food and beverages to the high school students while they demonstrated.
Carla Brown, who has two grandchildren who attend the school, was one of the adults who came to offer assistance. WLBT said Brown "believes in what the students are doing and said everybody doesn't go to church and that this school program may be the only way they find Christ."
"I come to support them," Carla Brown told the outlet. "They're trying to take First Priority from them. They've had it now for 15 years, and I support them."
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