Suggestion to Replace Prayer with Moment of Silence Draws Boos at Franklin County School Board Meeting

The Franklin County School Board in Tennessee had a very important discussion this week at their monthly work session: Should the Parent-Teacher Organization pray at meetings?

The school board’s attorney suggested that a moment of silence would be okay, but a prayer crossed the line — Since the PTO was a school-sponsored group, it was violating the law.

But the residents of the community didn’t accept any of that reasoning.

School board chairman Kevin Caroland called the meeting to order. At the point on the agenda for a moment of silence, a majority of the audience prayed aloud.

It only got worse from there. Check out what happened when the only voice of reason on the school board suggested they should all listen to the lawyer:

“I am afraid I disagree with all of you,” [board member Chris McDonough] said. “North Lake is an excellent school, and we want to make sure as many parents as possible participate in the PTO.” Prayer at the meetings could be a “stumbling block,” he said. “These are things that make people feel excluded.”

McDonough’s remarks were met with boos from members of the audience.

“There are people in this county who don’t go to your churches and people who don’t believe what you do,” he said. “A moment of silence lets people be together, and no one feels alienated,” he said.

Caroland had to quiet the crowd so that McDonough could finish his comments.

This is a crowd that wants their kids’ school district to get sued.

This is a crowd that cares more about the expansion of their churches than the education of their children.

This is a crowd that doesn’t get that Liberty Counsel’s offer of “free” legal assistance won’t cover the attorney’s fees the district (and taxpayers) will have to pay the Freedom From Religion Foundation after losing the case. (Just ask the Jackson City Schools.)

This is a crowd that needs to be ignored so the people in charge can abide by the law and do what’s right for the students.

(Thanks to Mike for the link)

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.