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Mississippi School District Has to Pay a $7,500 Fine for What Happened At School Assembly

The Rankin public school district in Mississippi was fined $7,500 for opening a school assembly with prayer. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves' judgment read "The district's breach did not take very long and it occurred in a very bold way. Its conduct displays that the district did not make any effort to adhere to the agreed judgment." The alleged prayer that opened the ceremony went against a 2013 court settlement. The May 2014 assembly was led by Rev. Rob Gill, a local Methodist preacher, where students in the district were honored for achieving scores greater than 22 on their ACT college admissions exams.

In addition, a student plaintiff from Northwest Rankin High School received $2,500 and an additional $5,000 for a lawsuit that revealed the school district's role in allowing Gideons International to give bibles to fifth grades at the Northwest Rankin Elementary School. He was represented by the American Humanist Association in court. The 2013 court case in question involves the same Northwest Rankin High School student, who sued the school district and the school's former principal, Charles Frazier, for forcing him to participate in Christian-themed assemblies. Reeves went on to state that if the district made any future violations, they would be charged a $10,000 fine.

Rankin County Superintendent Lynn Weathersby said "As long as there is testing in schools, we believe that teachers, principals and students will continue to pray. That being said, the school district will certainly abide by the order of any court to the best of its ability and will take whatever action necessary to make sure that all principals and teachers are updated on the current status of the law and that order."

Photo: Christian Post

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