BRANDON, Miss. — High school football season is in full swing, and for many schools that means the warm glow of stadium lights, good football and halftime entertainment.
But that wasn’t the case at Brandon High School, whose band was not allowed to perform during the Friday night halftime performance.
According to reports, the Rankin County School District received a federal court order July 10 that said the school couldn’t include prayer, religious sermons or activities in school-sponsored events.
“Defendants are permanently enjoined from including prayer, religious sermons or activities in any school sponsored event including but not limited to assemblies, graduations, award ceremonies, athletic events and any other school event. That means administrators, teachers and staff of the Rankin County School District may not participate in any religious activity, or solicit or encourage religious activities at school or while performing duties as a RCSD employee.”
The order came, according to Mississippi News Now, after the district continued to promote Christianity during school hours after it had agreed to stop.
The school was fined $7,500 and again ordered to stop.
It was decided by administrators the band would not be allowed to play at halftime on Friday because their performance included the song “How Great Thou Art,” a violation of the order which would result in a $10,000 fine.
Fans however decided to perform their own rendition of “How Great Though Art.”
WREG discovered students learned the songs at the high school’s band camp for the upcoming season, which was held July 20 to 31, after the court order was received.