After teachers get a legal order students come together for a stirring act of defiance
A group of parents went out on the field to support them.
Mary Rose Garra

People have different views and perspectives.

What are the most contentious issues? What are the subjects that most sharply divide us?

Climate change, religious freedom, women’s rights, vaccines, and gun control are among the most controversial topics that generate the most public debate in the United States today, according to Academic Influence.

Unsplash - Miguel Henriques
Unsplash - Miguel Henriques

Regardless of the arguments, some connect us all between the lines.

In one case in Putnam County, Tennessee, a ‘less favorable’ authority was conquered.

The football team and their parents took matters into their own hands.

Pexels - Sora Shimazaki
Pexels - Sora Shimazaki

This was after a Tennessee school board told teachers and coaches that they could no longer lead students in prayer.

According to WZTV, administrators with Putnam County Schools (PCS) informed staffers in mid-September 2021 that they would be barred from leading students in prayer in the future.

This was the result of a letter from the group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Pixabay - Free-Photos
Pixabay - Free-Photos

Directors from the school district contacted the faculty’s legal counsel. They informed them that the law regarding situations similar to this one is clear.

The attorney said,

“Courts have consistently ruled that prayer and proselytizing cannot be sponsored by schools or school personnel.”

A PCS attorney enjoined district schools to follow all laws and rules about prayer at school-sponsored events.

Unsplash - Pedro Lima
Unsplash - Pedro Lima

Following several instances of post-game prayers at Cookeville and Upperman high schools, the admonition was issued.

In a statement to WZTV, the school’s district said:

“As a district, we absolutely understand the importance of prayer in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff members. We support the right of students to participate in and lead spontaneous prayers. That right is and will continue to be protected.”

“We also understand that faculty and staff members can not lead or participate in the spontaneous student-led prayers.”

What exactly happened?

The school board’s decision elicited a faith-filled response from students and parents.

They planned a prayer event, the night following Upperman High School’s game against Stone Memorial.

One of the parents, Dustin Whitefield, decided to attend Upperman’s football game against Stone Memorial High School.

Whitefield shared to WZTV,

“We do realize this is a public school, but it has always been optional for players to pray, and has been a voluntary event.””

He added that “Players that still want to pray will have to do it on their own.”

What could be the prayer?

We may think that the prayer here is solely for being grateful for the event. Showing that the true goal of sports is the camaraderie and being in a sportsmanship spirit. It is not the competition between two parties who will win.

To add, it was a successful activity with no negative consequences.

Unsplash - Jack Sharp
Unsplash - Jack Sharp

Whitefiled said of the event.

“After the game, players and cheerleaders that choose to will be on the field praying on their own.”

“A group of parents will be going out on the field to support them. We will join hands and encircle them from a distance as a sign of protection and solidarity in choosing to continue to pray. This is a parent led event! We are encouraging anyone that would like to show their support to please join us.”

Bob Vick, a PCS graduate, and fan of the Upperman football team shared a now-viral image of the happenings.

“Satan’s power was defeated tonight, as the threat of a legal action to forbid prayer after the game was overwhelmed by player lead prayer supported by parents and fans in solidarity on Overall Field,” he wrote.

Even when the regulation prohibits academics or coaches from the main prayer, the gamers don’t seem like they may again down anytime quickly.

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By Mary Rose Garra
Mary Rose Garra is a contributor at SBLY Media.