Bossier Schools Accused Of Violating The Constitution Again
Over the last few months, Bossier Parish Schools have been accused of violating The United States Constitution multiple times, in various situations.
The legal questioning began when Bossier Parish Schools issued a threatening letter to students surrounding National Anthem protests. While the national media was covering the Parkway High vs. Airline High football game that week, many reporters noted the pre-game prayer that occurred at Airline's field. That sparked a second round of questions over the school system's behavior when it comes to student's Constitutional rights.
After those questions were raised, multiple major secular organizations issued a letter to the school to inform them of their violations.
Once the letter became public, Bossier Parish Schools Superintendent Scott Smith told KEEL News he was aware that courts have ruled against student-led prayer at sporting events, but that that his schools have continued with the prayers despite the rulings.
Now this week, the Shreveport Times has reported on teacher-led prayer occurring in the classroom.
In the Times piece, they reference a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (one of the groups who has already sent a legal letter to Bossier Schools) where the organizations lawyers point out the Constitutional issues with this alleged incident. The letter states that a teacher at Legacy Elementary school sent an email to student's parents that she would create a "prayer/blessing jar" in her classroom. The Foundation's lawyers assert that no teacher and endorse or encourage prayer inside the classroom.
Smith, the Bossier Superintendent, issued two distinctly different statements within a 24-hour period. The first statement read:
“This is the first this allegation has been brought to the attention of the administration at both the school and district levels and an investigation has begun. Though prayer is allowed in certain situations at school, such as at Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings, Bossier Schools understands it is not permissible in the classroom. Should our findings support the claim made, this practice will cease immediately.”
Which indicated that the school system understood the legal ramifications of the situation, and it appeared that they were going to take action in the matter. However just a day later, a new statement was issued, with a different tone:
"It is both disappointing and disturbing that an organization would call out an individual by name and alert the news media before ever affording Bossier Schools the opportunity to investigate whether or not a situation has even occurred. Because this is a personnel matter, we are not able to comment further. However, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and other organizations should be cautious when making assertions based on limited information provided to them."
With two distinctly different responses from the school, it's hard to say what response, if any, the school will have in this matter. We do know that the school has declared that they will not changed their stance on Anthem protests after the first letters were received. They may take the same approach to this situation as well.