Florida Principal Gets Off the Hook for Luncheon Prayer

A month ago, there was a news story about a Florida high school principal (Frank Lay) who asked another administrator to “offer a prayer of blessing during a school-day luncheon for the dedication of a new fieldhouse at Pace High School.”

It wasn’t the first time Lay ignored the church/state wall.

He was facing jail time and a $5,000 fine since he violated a court order demanding he not proselytize in the public school.

Yesterday, a judge issued a ruling on the case: Lay will not be going to jail.

Judge M. Case Rodgers ruled Thursday evening that Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman didn’t violate a 2008 agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union that was approved by the court.

Rodgers said the prayer at a field house dedication during the school day that was held on church property was spontaneous, and there was seemingly no intent to violate the order.

The men could have faced up to six months in jail and $5,000 each in fines if the judge had ruled differently.

A more thorough article can be read here.

As I said before, I think jail would have been too harsh. The school board simply needs to lay down an ultimatum: If he ever preaches, proselytizes, or promotes his personal faith while in his capacity as a principal, he will be fired.

Nothing else is going to do the trick here.

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  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    Somehow, I don’t think this will be the end of it. Those two will be watched like a hawk for any further violations of their promise to the judge.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-10853-Portland-Humanist-Examiner Portland Humanist Examiner

    The Judge was wrong. Lay was guilty as charged. This sends the wrong message to everyone.

    At the very least, Lay should not be allowed to continue at his present position.

    Keep up the good work Hemant, you are the best.

  • 3D

    Jail would not be too harsh. If some dude led children in a Satanic prayer on school time, heads would explode. And they would throw the book at him, as they should.

    This isn’t any different, except that we aren’t allowed to criticize certain religions like Christianity.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    Judge was probably wrong. Given Lay’s track record, I’m sure he’ll give people another chance to judge him. He certainly doesn’t sound fit to be teaching children though.

  • Alex

    I’m from a neighboring school district and if the names of the students that brought the suit were ever released I would be afraid for their safety. There are some real nut cases in that District. Principal Lay is probably the most liberal of the bunch.

  • muggle

    The ways laws aren’t enforced these days, I’m beginning to think that we do have an anarchy — and the bullies have taken over.

  • http://jessicasideways.com Jessica Sideways

    The Principal is clearly setting a bad example for these children and should be fired immediately!