A renewed battle over prayer in public schools

Last week the ACLU launched a campaign called “Religious Freedom Goes to School,” aimed at bringing the state’s schools into compliance with the First Amendment. “We are challenging all of South Carolina’s public schools to do more to protect religious freedom,” the group says on its website, “because all students, regardless of faith or belief system, should feel safe and welcome in our public schools.”

The ACLU says it has received complaints from across South Carolina of teachers leading prayers in class, Bibles being distributed in schools, and coaches holding prayer sessions at football practice. The group sued one South Carolina school district last year on behalf of a student and his father, who claimed they were ostracized after objecting to religious activities at the child’s middle school. These included being required to attend ‘worship rallies’ (featuring a performance by B-SHOC, a Christian rapper who sings songs like “Crazy ‘Bout God”) and to sign pledges dedicating their lives to Jesus. The school district signed a consent decree agreeing not to engage in improper religious activity in the future.