Texas principal yields to atheists, will no longer lead prayers at 'See You at the Pole' Christian event
A Texas principal has agreed not to speak at the "See You at the Pole" school prayer events after an atheist group complained.
Greg Wright, principal of Prosper High School in Texas, had been leading prayers and delivering sermons at the annual youth event.
However, parent Janie Oyakawa contacted the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) about his practice. The FFRF sent a letter to the Prosper Independent School District.
"If he wants to be the principal of a Christian school, he has all the freedom to do that. But I just want our high school to represent the people that are part of the community and contribute financially to it and not all of those people are Christians," she told TV station NBCDFW.
A prayer rally was held on campus last September to support Wright.
In a letter, the FFRF told Superintendent Drew Watkins that schools officials should not participate in prayer events or form religious clubs, according to the Christian News Network.
"When a teacher or principal is on school property as part of the school day, even if it is before the official 8:24 a.m. start, they are there for their official duties, just as students are," the FFRF letter read. "School staffers cannot lead, encourage, or participate in student-led religious activity. And any religious event or religious club at a PISD school must be genuinely student-led."
The FFRF also complained about a cross and a plaque in the assistant principal's office that reads, "God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorry, nor sun without rain. But he did promise strength for the day."
"We understand that PHS Assistant Principal Grant displays a Latin cross and a plaque about god in her office," the letter said. "That these displays are in Grant's office is immaterial. Students enter her office regularly and the displays are orientated towards those student visitors."
School District attorney Charles Crawford said that Wright will no longer speak "in his capacity as District employee at future on-campus, student-led See You at the Pole events."
"Principal Wright is not forming a religious club for students, the First Priority Club. Rather, this club is being student formed and led," Crawford said.
Crawford also agreed that officials will not "prominently display religious materials in school buildings where students are likely to be present."