Teen challenging forced prayer in school in ACLU backed lawsuit

In the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, there is no separation of church and state.

Kaylee Cole is a hero fighting on the frontlines of America’s creeping Theocracy. Her public high school in Webster Parish, Louisiana was so blatant in their promotion of Christianity, that prayers were broadcast over the PA each morning. Classroom walls were decorated with daily objectives to pray and love god, and Kaylee says teachers mixed religion into lessons. She was told by one teacher to take the Bible literally and by another that Adam and Eve, not the Big Bang, was how the world began. The lines between church and state are fuzzy in this area called the Buckle of the Bible Belt.

Kaylee is a brave kid, and her Mother is an extraordinary parent. Kaylee sat out the morning prayers at school even as classmates hissed at her, one saying “Devil be rid of me!” Braver still, her Mother, with help from the ACLU, has filed suit against the Webster Parish School District for the “systematic official promotion of religion.” This is a town where religion runs so deep that the idea that anyone doesn’t want to pray in school causes many residents confusion. The calls to ‘get out of town’ have started, along with plenty of decidedly UNchristian social media posts.

Christy Cole, Kaylee’s Mom, is Christian herself and prays, but still has the sense to fight to protect her daughter’s right to choose differently. "It's an official systematic program of indoctrinating every child in this parish. They indoctrinated all of their parents," Christy Cole says. "Anybody can pray any time they want, wherever they want. They're just not allowed to have a captive audience to do it. And I really feel like Kaylee (has) been part of that captive audience."

The school responded to the lawsuit by ending the morning prayers, but denied any violation of law by claiming students led the prayers. The religious decorations are down, but the school denies any religion crept into teacher’s lessons. They even deny prayers occurred at school events, though online video shows praying at sports games and pep rallies.

Christy Cole wants people to know she’s a Christian who prays, but a parent first, saying, "I really hope that the harm, the damage that comes from these years of indoctrination, we can start reversing that in the future generations.” She and the ACLU are seeking an injunction to keep the school from instituting prayers again. The school board, is looking for the case to be dismissed, and in their court filing said "(We) PRAY that this Answer be deemed good and sufficient." Seriously, it doesn’t seem like they are flouting the law at all when they respond to the lawsuit that way.

By Being Liberal contributor: Sarah Ficca

Read more and watch a video report here: “What happened when a public school student sued over prayer” written by Mallory Simon for CNN on January 23, 2018.

Comments

Stories