Thursday, May 8, 2014

Humanist Association Renews Lawsuit Against NWR

WJTV News Channel 12

Remember these posts concerning NW Rankin High Student, Magdalene Bedi, and the American Humanist Association's ("AHA") lawsuits against the School District from last year.  They alleged the District violated the First Amendment by sponsoring Christian programs and mandating student attendance. The parties later settled the lawsuit and entered into an agreed order whereby the District vowed to promulgate policies regarding school sponsored religion, and further promised never to do it again.  The District also paid $15,000.00, according to this report.  

Six months later, M.B. and AHA renewed their lawsuit against the District after Rev. Rob Gill of St. Mark's United Methodist Church gave the invocation during a program honoring those students who scored higher than 22 on the ACT.  AHA seeks contempt damages against the District.  One gets the feeling the AHA had drawn up that contempt motion six months ago.  In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision allowing invocation-type prayer prior to governmental meetings, this may be a difficult fight for the Humanists.  Of course, the language of the agreed order settling the prior suit will be important.  Stay tuned.

Clarion Ledger story here.
WJTV story here.
Gulflive Blog here.


Bill Dees said...

The Supreme Court has always drawn a sharp distinction between governmental-body prayer and coerced prayer in public schools. The recent Galloway decision allowing opening prayer at city council meetings will have no bearing on the outcome of this matter. NWR just needs to stop cramming Christianity down the throats of captive students.

Anonymous said...

So what is the ratio -- about 1 out of about 350 students don't want to hear a prayer -- by all means -- lets stop prayer. It's real simple, if you don't want to participate in the prayer -- simply don't bow your head and participate. I'm certain no one was shoving it down anyone's throat here.

Anonymous said...

There is a more diversity that you may think at NWR. There are kids from a lot of different faiths at that school. Yes, the majority are of one denomination, but that is no reason to be disrespectful to kids of other faiths.

Anonymous said...

Bryant lied about this bill, and he's lying about the religious freedom bill as well....

Idiots in rankin county and the like are about to exercise their hatred, I mean religion.

If you think this lawsuit is so deplorable, this just a small taste of what's coming.

Anonymous said...

when is the last time you saw an atheist file suit or complain on a muslim?

Just curious

Anonymous said...

When have you EVER seen someone who is Muslim lead student prayer in a Rankin county Please!! If that happened you know people would FREAK around here.

No law says you can't pray, it just says you can't make everybody do it your way. Diversity is not a negative thing. Live and let live.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in atheist.

Anonymous said...

"The District has not complied with the Court’s order. Under the Agreed Judgment, M.B. acquiesced to not pursue her lawsuit with the pledge that the District, in turn, would ensure future compliance with the provisions of its newly adopted policy on religion. That was the quid pro quo. Defendant failed to honor its end of the agreement. The District’s breach did not take
very long and it occurred in a very bold way. Its conduct displays that the District did not make any effort to adhere to the Agreed Judgment."

"From the accounts detailed in the record, it appears that incorporating religious script and prayers with school activities has been a long-standing tradition of the District. Understandably, eradicating practices, which over time have been systemically engrained in an institution’s culture is a task that requires time. But the first step to take must be one which informs all employees of a new policy. When the policy is breached, district officials should take corrective action. In the Court’s view, the District has not made any cognizable efforts to comply with the Establishment Clause or its own Religion Policy. On the contrary, it has acted in clear defiance of the law. A contempt finding is appropriate."

"Therefore, IT IS ORDERED that: (1) Defendant School District shall pay the Plaintiff $2,500 to compensate her for the deprivation of her constitutional rights at the 2014 ACT Ceremony; (2) Defendant School District shall pay the Plaintiff an additional $5,000 for exposing the violation at NRE where the Gideons were allowed to distribute Bibles on the elementary school's campus; (3) Defendant School District shall pay a fine of $10,000 per infraction to the Plaintiff for any future violations of the Consent Decree; (4) Defendants shall award Plaintiff’s counsel reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs in connection with this proceeding, the amount to be determined upon a separate motion filed in this Court within 21 days of this Order; (5) Defendants are permanently enjoined from including prayer or religious sermons in any school-sponsored event including but not limited to assemblies, graduations, awards ceremonies, athletic events and any other school event subject to the limitations set out in the Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. § 4071 et seq.; and (6) Defendants are required to comply with the
terms of the Consent Decree.

SO ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED, this the 10th day of July, 2015.

s/ Carlton W. Reeves

Anonymous said...

If they have to pay $10,000 every time they violate this order then RCSD will go broke. I hope she never works for them because they pray at every meeting, luncheon, mandatory work training and any other time and could not careless if one is from a different religion or one who finds it offensive. I know people will ask, "what's wrong with prayer?" but are Jewish suppose to bow their heads to praises for Jesus? Are non believers just suppose to sit there and go along with it for fear of work reprimands or comments from their coworkers? Come on, this is against the law for a reason! Prayer is not for the workplace and if they feel this strongly about then they should go work at a christian school. NHS has numerous students of different religions and culture. Prayer is not for the workplace and my student attended the meeting that started all this hoopla. I did not appreciate it or the fact that it was MANDATORY even though RCSD claimed it was not. We did not sue but I do not send my child to a public school to hear three teen boys discuss their personal problems and addictions to porn, one thought he was a homosexual and how their Jesus saved them from all this nonsense. Sounds like personal issues that should have been kept at home or with their pastor. It should have never been allowed at a meeting in a public school. Supposedly this was apart of their senior project??? Don't even get me started on that worthless class that is required for graduation. What were the idiots in charge thinking?