Webster Parish School District Sued Over Allegedly Violating the First Amendment

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A parent of a student in Webster Parish School District, located in Louisiana, filed a federal lawsuit against the district with the help of the ACLU. The federal lawsuit outlines more than 30 alleged instances of times that teachers within Webster Parish School District promoted Christianity.

The parent, Christy Cole, filed the lawsuit on behalf of her daughter who attends high school in Webster Parish District. The ACLU stated in the complaint that Ms. Cole was raised as a Baptist and “deeply values her religious beliefs,” but that she beliefs the instances described in the complaint overrides her role as a parent and promotes specific Christian beliefs that she and her daughter do not hold. Her daughter is agnostic, according to an article released by ACLU Louisiana.

Ms. Cole issued a statement through the ACLU regarding her allegations against Webster Parish: “As a parent, I was alarmed and offended that the school district would pressure my daughter into reciting prayers and participating in religious rituals that she doesn’t believe in. I believe that praying in public is a sin and that our religious faith is between us and God. The government simply has no business strong-arming my daughter into practicing a certain faith.”

Did Webster Parish School District Violate the First Amendment?

The First Amendment provides Americans with freedom of religion. Separation of church and state exists to stop the federal government from favoring or recognizing one religion over another. While the separation of church and state isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, it is supported by the First Amendment.