MORGAN CITY — A Washington-based humanist group has written a letter to St. Mary Parish school officials demanding they omit prayer from school-sponsored events after a Morgan City High School student complained about a school-led Christian prayer during a Veterans Day assembly last week.
If the district does not take corrective action on the complaint within seven days, the American Humanist Association threatens in the letter to file a federal lawsuit against the school district and its officials for the unconstitutional practice.
The letter states that students were instructed to stand and bow their heads for the prayer.
“In a case like this, it’s so clearly unconstitutional I’d be surprised if the school pushed back and tried to defend it,” said Monica Miller, the attorney with the AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center who wrote the letter.
Humanist philosophy abandons theistic and supernatural beliefs in pursuit of personal fulfillment through ethical living that serves “the greater good of humanity,” according to the AHA’s website.
The complaint came from an 11th-grade student who “felt compelled to stay at the assembly despite her sincere objection to school-sponsored prayers, because she feared the school would punish her if she attempted to leave,” the letter reads.
The student chose to remain anonymous at this time, Miller said.
The letter was sent Nov. 18 to Morgan City High School Principal Mickey Fabre and Superintendent Don Aguillard, who were not available Tuesday afternoon for comment on the complaint.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook.