Bell County to bring back pregame prayer

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BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT/WYMT) - Nearly 4 years ago, a letter from, the freedom from religion foundation forced Bell County Schools to end pre-game prayer with fans.

State attorneys told the school system, continuing it, would be unconstitutional.

The decision was not a popular one.

Fast forward to 2015, when a faculty member and some students offered a petition.

They cite the 1st amendment, which protects free exercise of religion.

Board members agreed, and for now, a pre-game prayer will kick-off the football season.

Reviving an old tradition, on a brand new field.

"It's been a long-standing tradition here at Bell County High School, that there be prayer at the football games. Then there was obviously someone who was opposed to it,” said Samantha Johnson, a teacher at Bell County High School.

It was 4 years ago.

The school board received a letter from the freedom from religion foundation, which led to the decision of ending pre-game prayer.

"The prayers were simply usually praying over the players and their safety. There was nothing offensive in the prayers,” said Johnson.

A teacher and some students at bell county high school form a Christian group called "First Priority" ... They recently sent a letter to the school board, asking that they be able to pray before football games.

"It's a way to hope for the better, and talk to God. That's something that everybody needs to do,” said student, Hannah Belcher.

The board approved the group's request Tuesday.

In the past, we're told the prayers were given by a local pastor.

This time around, it will be a little different.

"We'll have several of our First Priority students, so it will be student-led, who are interested in leading the prayer. It's not an organized prayer. It will happen sometime before the game, probably over the loud speaker,” said Johnson.

For the first time in years, they will open the season, with a unified amen.

Amber Duke with the ACLU of Kentucky sent us a statement, saying in part, they look forward to seeing more detailed information about the decision and will monitor how it is implemented.

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