US school bans praying and talking about Jesus during free time
Free time is no longer prayer time for Christian students at Pine Creek High School, Colorado Springs after they were banned from meeting to pray, sing religious songs, or discuss religious topics as a group.
Chase Windebank a senior at Pine Creek was summoned to the office of the Assistant Principal James Lucas because he had been leading a bible study group in their school, Fox News reported.
"He was told that he could no longer pray with his fellow students during free time because of the separation of church and state," said Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney representing the teenager.
Tedesco is with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm specializing in handling religious liberty cases and the group that successfully pushed an Arizona school district to tamp down its sexual education curriculum.
"He was told that he could pray before the school day begins or after the school day ends but he could not do it during the school day," Tedesco told me.
A school spokesperson confirmed that the Windebank group was told to disband in accordance with state law.
"Students were told that, according to state law and district policy, they could meet during non-instructional time," the spokesperson told Fox in a written statement. "That is before or after school."
The school argues that non-curriculum related groups should only meet during "non-instructional" time. Jesus is not part of the school's curriculum therefore talking about Him should be done after school hours. Chase and his friends can still meet provided that they don't talk about religion or mention the name of Jesus.
In a letter sent to D-20 officials on October 7, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys said that Windebank and other students have earned the privilege of leaving the class during the latter half of seminar on some days, The Gazette reported.
The lawsuit seeks to restore the praying, singing and discussing topics from a religious perspective during free time, a judgment declaring prohibiting those actions as unconstitutional, legal fees and $1 for the violation of Windebank's constitutional rights.