School Superintendent Defends Prayer at Off-Campus Veterans Day Event
A North Carolina school superintendent is stepping up against complaints about Christian prayers at a veteran’s event held in late May.
Some students and at least one parent complained to school officials after the “Field of Honor” event included prayers that named Jesus and didn’t think the school violated policy.
But Buncombe County Superintendent of Schools Tony Baldwin said he consulted with a Board of Education attorney about the complaints.
“[The attorney] confirmed that because the event occurred on private property, was organized by a private group, did not involve the direct action of school employees, and was not a required activity for students—it did not violate the law or our school board policy,” Baldwin wrote in a statement.
The event, which was optional for band students to attend, was held off school property and organized by band boosters.
“Basically (the parent who complained) felt like it was inclusive of only one religion,” North Buncombe Principal Jack Evans told the Citizen-Times. “With it being a school event, even though it was off campus and on private property, unfortunately they are probably right. That is against the policy.”
The district’s policy is that schools “neither advance nor inhibit any religion or religious belief, viewpoint, expression, or practice.”
Publication date: June 2, 2014