Here in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, one of our local high schools is in the throws of controversy. 'Why?' you ask? Because of biblical scripture being used as messages of encouragement to the football players.
This is the high school that my boys will likely attend when they are of age and it makes me sad to think that we cannot show our faith in any way. These cheerleaders made the signs on their own time during the summer break, and they did not use school funds to purchase the necessary supplies to make them.
I sent an email to our school superintendent, and this is the reply I received this morning.
Dear Mrs. Douglas,
Thank you for your email supporting the LFO tradition of Bible verses on run-thru signs at football games. I am personally very proud that our students have continued this expression of their Christian beliefs. Unfortunately, displaying a Bible verse on the football field violates federal law. This violation could result in law suits or loss of our federal funding.
While I must comply with the law, it is also very important to me that our students have the opportunity to express their religious beliefs. I have spent the weekend working with our legal counsel. We have designated a visible area outside the football stadium for the signs. In fact, this will allow for the signs to be displayed longer than they are on the field. I am also very impressed that our students have taken this opportunity make a personal expression of their Christian beliefs by wearing t-shirts and making signs with religious messages to display during the game.
I appreciate your email and your support for this LFO tradition. I am so proud to live and work in a community that values Christian beliefs. I hope you understand my responsibility to comply with the law even when it does not align with my personal beliefs.
I have attached a copy of our press release with our attorney’s interpretation of the rulings of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals on the 1st Amendment. I will be glad to respond to your email if you have additional concerns.
With kindest regards,
Catoosa County Public Schools
P. O. Box 130
Ringgold, GA 30736