An Illinois school district banned students from announcing prayer meetings over the school’s Facebook page in September 2016. According to the Christian Post, the statement came after a student used Wayne City High School’s official Facebook page to advocate for Bring Your Bible to School Day.
“We will be meeting in the library at 7:50 a.m. to pray over the day,” the post read. “We will be carrying Bibles around school this day. This is not just a Wayne City thing; it’s happening nation-wide.”
One resident who viewed the post complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who then wrote a letter to the school district superintendent.
“Courts have continually held that school districts may not display religious messages or iconography in public schools,” FFRF Legal Fellow Ryan Jayne wrote in the letter. “These restrictions clearly extend to the official Wayne City High School Facebook page, which any reasonable viewer would perceive as representing the views of the school.”
Superintendent Jeff Mitchell responded to the FFRF, saying that the student who had created the post had deleted it as instructed.
The students still held the prayer meeting at the announced time.
“As I understand the law on this type of situation, they were certainly within their rights to bring their Bibles to school and can do so at any time,” Mitchell said.
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said she appreciated the school district’s response in a press release. She said she hopes it will help schools to better adhere to the Constitution in the future.
The Trumpet Online , a Christian news website, called on its readers to protest the district’s statement.