A school district in Florida has asked a high school student to stop ending the morning announcements with “God bless America.”
The decision comes after a complaint from two students, who are atheists. They filed a complaint with the American Humanist Association. Those students have not been named.
The AHA then contacted the school principal and superintendent through a six-page letter.
The letter said the phrase during the announcement was “inappropriate and unlawful” and the “daily validation of the religious views of God-believers resigns atheists to second class citizens."
"Such religious messages violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and must therefore be stopped immediately,” the letter said.
The group also threatened to sue.
The Yulee High student ended his daily announcements with the phrase even though that was not part of the script.
"He was not disciplined," said Nassau County school district spokesperson Sharyl Wood. "He has been instructed to follow the script and do not say God Bless America."
"Students at Yulee High are free to express their beliefs all day long, but not during the school announcement,” she said. “This student deviated from the script and has been instructed do not deviate from the script; he is a good student and he meant no harm."
But some parents are upset by the change.
"The president says God Bless America," said Amy Richmond, a parent. "What is the big deal saying it in our school? I am so proud of him."
Publication Date: February 13, 2015