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Anderson County football team told not to pray with chaplain before game

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (WKYT) - School leaders in Anderson County say they aren't telling students they can't pray at home football games, but they are saying that prayer will have to be student led.

Superintendent Sheila Mitchell says the decision came after Head Football Coach Mark Peach asked to have a volunteer chaplain hold prayer before and after the games.

Mitchell says the school board's lawyer told her prayer led by a member of the staff would violate state law. She said student led prayer that was organized by staff would also be a violation. Because of that the plan to have a chaplain for the football team was denied.

The man who would have been that chaplain says he doesn't fault school administrators for making that decision.

"This is not an us versus them kind of thing, we're called to serve and sometimes that line can get blurred," said Noah Chase, student pastor at Sand Spring Baptist Church.

Mitchell says the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to school boards across the state threatening litigation because of bibles distributed to students by Gideon International. She said that letter led her to seek counsel on this issue.

However, she also said that prayer organized and led by students and players was acceptable and protected by the first amendment. Those players have told their coach they plan on having a voluntary prayer before the game.


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