Finally, the message sinks in in Mississippi
A Mississippi school board – recently fined $7,500 by Judge Carlton W Reeves for contempt for continuing to allow unlawful Christian activities at its schools – has issued a statement saying that it will in future abide by any court rulings.
Rankin County School District had earlier made a shocking admission:
School officials are ill-equipped to understand the complexities of constitutional law.
According the the Christian News Network, the District’s Superintendent Lynn Weathersby said in a somewhat defiant statement:
As long as there is testing in schools, we believe that teachers, principals and students will continue to pray.
That being said, the school district will certainly abide by the order of any court to the best of its ability and will take whatever action necessary to make sure that all principals and teachers are updated on the current status of the law and that order.
The contempt judgment arose after an awards ceremony was opened with prayer at a Brandon High School assemby, and Fifth Grade teachers were advised by their principal to walk children past a Gideon International’s Bible distribution setup in the lobby at Northwest Rankin Elementary School.
This was in violation of an agreement reached earlier with the American Humanist Association that the board would cease the promotion of Christianity.
The AHA then filed a motion of contempt with the court, but the district argued that the prayer was “involuntary” and that the principal didn’t know anything was improper about her directions regarding the Gideon distribution.
Therefore, the incidents, they said, could not be considered a violation of the agreement.
Judge Reeves placed a permanent injunction against the district from offering prayers or sermons at any of its events and fined the district $7,500 plus attorneys fees for contempt. Any further promotion of Christianity will cost the district $10,000 per incident.
Incidentally, the Christian News Network incorrectly reports that the original case was brought against the School District by the AHA on behalf of a student “who has not been identified”.
In fact the student is Magdalene “Gracie” Bedi, who gave her reasons for initiating the legal proceeding in this AHA post.