After a school board mandated that coaches and teachers could no longer lead students in prayer, a group of teenagers stepped up to take over for the adults.
All across the country, people are celebrating a high school football team’s response to a Tennessee school board‘s decision to muzzle coaches and teachers.
Putnam County School district administrators recently informed the schools’ faculty and staff that they would no longer be allowed to lead students in prayer.
“The case law not allowing prayer or proselytizing is clear. Courts have consistently ruled that prayer and proselytizing can not be sponsored by schools or school personnel,” administrators said in the memo after receiving a complaint issued by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The group, which has openly opposed religious freedom on numerous occasions, whined about multiple instances of “prayer and proselytizing” which had occurred at events at Cookeville and Upperman high schools, referring to the regular occurrence of prayer after high school football games.
In a statement to the local news outlet, the school board said: “As a district, we absolutely understand the importance of prayer in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff members. We support the right of students to participate in and lead spontaneous prayers. That right is and will continue to be protected.”
“We also understand that faculty and staff members can not lead or participate in the spontaneous student-led prayers,” the board added.
The board’s decision immediately sparked outrage within the community, causing parents to organize a show of support for the next football game.
“We do realize this is a public school, but it has always been optional for players to pray, and has been a voluntary event. Players that still want to pray will have to do it on their own,” one parent, Dustin Whitefield, said to WZTV.
“After the game, players and cheerleaders that choose to will be on the field praying on their own. A group of parents will be going out on the field to support them,” he added. “We will join hands and encircle them from a distance as a sign of protection and solidarity in choosing to continue to pray. This is a parent-led event! We are encouraging anyone that would like to show their support to please join us.”
The event was a huge success, with parents, fans, and players from both teams joining together in prayer. The amazing sight quickly went viral, with people from all over the country showing their support for these courageous teenagers.
“Satan’s power was defeated tonight,” one Putnam County Schools alum and fan wrote in a post on Facebook.
“As the threat of a legal action to forbid prayer after the game was overwhelmed by player lead prayer supported by parents and fans in solidarity on Overall Field. God bless the Baxter and Stone players for their faith and courage,” he added.
Other social media users celebrated the occasion with well wishes and support, writing, “Amen,” “Praise God,” and “Hallelujah!”
School district prohibits teachers & coaches from leading prayer… so before the game, STUDENT ATHLETES led the prayer. Beautiful. https://t.co/N974zxiq1m
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) September 22, 2021