Prayer issue packs Pickens Co. school board meeting - FOX Carolina 21

Prayer issue packs Pickens Co. school board meeting

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The School District of Pickens County school board heard from the community about the potential for nondenominational prayer on Monday. (Jan. 28, 2013/FOX Carolina) The School District of Pickens County school board heard from the community about the potential for nondenominational prayer on Monday. (Jan. 28, 2013/FOX Carolina)
Hundreds gathered to share their opinion on the nondenominational prayer issue. (Jan. 28, 2013/FOX Carolina) Hundreds gathered to share their opinion on the nondenominational prayer issue. (Jan. 28, 2013/FOX Carolina)
EASLEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The Pickens County School Board voted Monday night to look into a nondenominational prayer at future meetings.

But the decision was met with heavy resistance from many in attendance.

Currently, the Pickens County School Board allows a student-led invocation at their board meetings, usually associated with the Christian religion. After a complaint from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation last year, the board announced they were looking into legal alternatives.

The nondenominational prayer, where a prayer would be general and not directed towards any religion, would be drafted by the school board's attorney. If approved, students would no longer lead the prayer in future meetings.

Despite that, supporters packed the Pickens County school board chambers Monday night. Hundreds of people were in attendance, wanting to keep the student-led invocation.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation said that can't happen because it's against the Constitution for a public school system to lead a religious prayer.

"Their personal views, how they want them to be, that's not how the system works," said Patrick Elliott of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. "They disagree with the law. They're going to violate it. I hope that's not the route they go.

But supporter Wayne Dickard said, "The sentiment of the citizens was to fight."

Another supporter, Randy Mulligan, said to school board members, "I see the hurting in our students. We've taken God out of schools."

The recommendation for the nondenominational prayer came about from a series of recommendations to the School District of Pickens County.

The resolution is set to be taken up at the next school board meeting.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation told FOX Carolina if no action is taken by the school board, they could consider taking further legal steps.

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