ACLU and SC School Districts

Yesterday, a constituent brought to my attention that District Five is having to answer a FOIA request from the ACLU brought on by their new “campaign”.

We’re not alone in District Five though. Looks like all districts in SC are having to spend time away from educating our children in order to comply with the request.

A request which, frankly, we all know where it’s going and what it’s trying to do. I’m sure we have some in the community who agree with what the ACLU is doing; but i know that most of us do not. I wonder, is SC the only state the ACLU has launched this campaign ?

Earlier this year, a student at Irmo High School sued our district over prayer at graduation . Since I don’t serve on the School Board I have not spent time on that issue other than to immediately offer my services should the district need me.

The only time I’ve been asked to lend support on this issue was a few years ago when an athletic coach at one of our schools mentioned that he and his team were being told they could not pray before their games. I offered to join him and his athletes on the field during that time and was honored to do so. We prayed and the game went on…just like other athletic events (public school included) for years in our country.

In January, the ACLU and ACLU of South Carolina filed a lawsuit challenging the practice of school-sponsored prayer and religious activities in a South Carolina school district. The case was settled by consent decree, and a permanent injunction was ordered, prohibiting prayers during or in conjunction with school events. The order also blocked school officials from organizing, financing or sponsoring religious services involving students.

State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said in a statement, “I support the rights of students and adults to pray or not to pray in schools. This misinformation campaign by the ACLU isn’t about religious freedom. It’s an attempt to discourage religious expression in the public arena by issuing threats of lawsuits and suggesting it is unlawful to pray in school. The Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. To those who choose to pray in school, I encourage them to keep praying.”

I’m no constitutional scholar but I do know there are additional words left out of the often quoted phrase: “make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. The words that follow (and are rarely shared) state “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

Having represented the Chapin/Dutch Fork/Irmo community for the past eight years, I believe…and know…we are a community that largely agrees with the comments of one of our country’s former Presidents.