Florida High School Principal and Athletic Director Face Six Months Over Prayers

thumb_praying_handsIt is not that Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and school athletic director Robert Freeman do not have a prayer, they had too many prayers. The two officials defied a settlement barring prayers on constitutional ground and now face six-month sentences — a matter of widespread protest among parents.

While I often defend free speech and free exercise on these pages, I must confess little sympathy for these officials. While the two officials have been made heroes among local families, they are accused of knowingly violated a settlement agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union and a court order. According to court papers, they defied the clear law barring such prayers in public schools. The Pace High School teachers handbook actually told teachers to “embrace every opportunity to inculcate, by precept and example, the practice of every Christian virtue.”

A federal court order prohibited, among other things, any prayer in schools, “reading from a sacred text”, “calling upon a deity to offer guidance, assistance or a blessing” as well as religious services. The two men are accused of intentionally violating that court order.

The officials not only decided that they were above the Constitution but openly defied their own Santa Rosa County School District, which agreed to comply with federal law. If officials are allowed to claim exemption from federal and constitutional law, they could preserve segregation or advance sectarian faiths as a matter of local values. It is not clear what these officials are teaching their students about citizenship in such actions. No one is preventing private prayer. They are employees of a school district which agreed to comply with constitutional standards that apply to thousands of schools across the country. If they decided that they were above such limits, they were wrong. While I do not see the need for jail, there is a basis for termination based on the alleged violations if proven.

For the full story, click here.

24 thoughts on “Florida High School Principal and Athletic Director Face Six Months Over Prayers”

  1. The Great Joe Bob
    (A Regional Tragedy)
    by Terry Allen

    He was a panhandle prince
    Schoolboy football king
    They told him “Hi” in the halls
    ‘Cause he could run them balls
    But it was rumored down deep he was mean
    He dated high-tone girls
    With frosty pom-pom curls
    But he never gave out his ring
    He was the best of the best
    He met the grid-iron test
    An there ain’t nothin’ as American an’ clean

    He was the pride of the backfield
    Ahh the hero of his day
    Yeah he carried the ball for the red and blue
    They won District Triple-A
    An his name made all the papers
    As the best they’d ever had
    Yeah so nobody understood it
    When the Great Joe Bob went bad

    First he lost his scholarship
    To Texas Tech
    For drinking during training
    An breaking the coach’s neck
    Then he got suspended ahhh for acting obscene
    Around the Cum-Laudy, Cum-Laudy
    Daughter of the Dean
    So he took up with a waitress
    Named Loose Ruby Cole
    While she was a-hoppin’ tables
    Down at the Hi-D-Ho
    An he met her on the sly
    When her daddy weren’t around
    Yeah but he stopped making yardage
    When he started messin’ ’round
    Yeah it spread like a country wildfire
    That something big had gone all strange
    Joe Bob the Greatest Halfback
    Was actin half-deranged

    He’d been seen out with this woman
    Gettin drunk and havin fun
    Yeah he growed his hair, then gived up prayer
    An said, “Football days is done”
    Then he and old Loose Ruby
    Robbed a Pinkie’s Liquor Store
    An had a run-in with the law
    When they’s runnin’ out the door
    An Joe Bob’s fate was sealed
    For the next century
    Yeah he traded in the pigskin
    For the penitentiary

  2. Thats true, as anyone in that area of the state who could run, jump or swim went up North.

  3. AY, I went to school in SW Texas. I think Jesus probably spent more time in your part of the state since we didn’t win that many football games.

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