Cullman County School District in Alabama Is the Site of Even More Violations of Church/State Separation

Just the other day, I posted about a “prayer caravan” organized by Cullman County Schools (Alabama) Superintendent Billy Coleman. The idea was that he would lead a group of people to all the schools in the district and pray… becauseI guess that raises test scores in Alabama or something. They’ve been doing this for a few years running.

Superintendent Billy Coleman

We also learned from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (PDF) that the caravan wasn’t the school’s only violation of the law:

We were also informed that schools in the Cullman County system recite the Lord’s Prayer over the loudspeaker each morning. We understand that an attempt to mask this illegal practice is made by giving students “the option” to participate.

So why bring this all up again?

Because FFRF has learned that they’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to violations of church/state separation in the district:

FFRF has received reports from at least seven local families about additional violations in area schools, mostly regarding unconstitutional prayers. FFRF has been informed the district schools lead recitations of the Lord’s prayer during the school day including over the loudspeaker system, have teacher-led prayer before lunch, at graduation ceremonies and according to one student “every school event… starts with a prayer.”

Cullman Country Schools often hold school events in churches rather than schools themselves. Coleman frequently schedules a student investment dinner and school meetings at various churches around the area.

The most disturbing information FFRF received regards West Point Elementary School. Every Tuesday, according to a complainant a preacher visits to proselytize. Teachers reportedly have told student their teachers “would be disappointed” if students chose not to listen to the preacher.

Now that people are learning that FFRF is looking at the district, they’re starting to come forward with even more damning pieces of information.

There’s no lawsuit yet, because that’s always a last resort. First, FFRF has requested a response from Coleman by next week. I can’t wait to hear how he tries to explain and get out of all this shit he’s dragged the district into…

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.