(DeSoto County, MS) Amber Waddle was one of thousands of parents across Mississippi glad to hear state lawmakers supported prayer in schools, ”I think it’s great. I think people should be able to pray if they want. They shouldn’t have to ask permission from anybody."
Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill into law that keeps the state from interfering in school prayer, and prevents students from getting punished if they do pray.
Mississippi’s branch of the American Civil Liberties Union says school districts should step carefully.
“I think the way this law is written is just fraught with danger for the schools,” said Bear Atwood, legal director for American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi.
School leaders say the law doesn’t really change anything.
It doesn’t legalize school-sponsored prayer, it just keeps the school from getting involved if students want to organize their own prayer.
In other words, don’t expect to hear prayers during morning announcement, or over the loudspeakers at football games.
DeSoto School Superintendent Milton Kuykendall didn’t want to talk about this latest development, citing the trouble his district has had from groups wanting to keep government-sponsored religious activities out of schools.
In DeSoto, school leaders say it’ll be business as usual.
If districts do get into trouble, the conservative Liberty Counsel says it will defend them for free.
Counsel attorney Steve Crampton has said, “It is, both consistent with the First Amendment and a help to school officials and students by explaining where the boundaries are in a confusing area of the law.”
Governor Bryant agrees, saying, "I think we would be honored to spend money in defending religious freedoms for the people of the state of Mississippi.”
Parents applaud that.
”And if they’re willing to pay if anything does go on, that’s good. I think so” said Waddle.