Lawsuit filed against Doniphan school district - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Doniphan, MO

Lawsuit filed against Doniphan school district

Lawsuit filed against Doniphan school district
By: CJ Cassidy

Doniphan, MO - The Doniphan School District finds itself at the center of a lawsuit.

Filed by two students and their mother, the suit alleges school leaders violated their rights when teachers led two separate assemblies with prayers.

It's an issue school leaders say they've never had to deal with before.

The lawsuit now forces them to question a tradition they've embraced for years, revolving around prayer at school events.

"I don't know that prayer harms anyone and in fact I'm looking for all the help I can get," Superintendent Kevin Sandlin says. He's not looking for help from a higher power; he's hoping for legal advice.

"The larger issue is what's actually permissible in regard to prayer. Can you have prayer at graduations, can you have prayer at sports banquets in the evening?" he asks.

The identity of the Jane Doe who filed the lawsuit remains a secret, but folks in Doniphan say it doesn't matter who she is, they just want her and her children, to understand their point of view.

High School Freshman Brad Hayden doesn't hold back when it comes to sharing his religious beliefs.

He says schools should allow prayer in schools and adds that folks of other faiths should be allowed to share their beliefs as well.

Many parents agree.

"I don't like the schools getting sued, because the teachers here are great," one parent told us.

"If they didn't want to be there, they could go somewhere else during the prayer," another says.

We are talking about mandatory assemblies however, so the students in question had to be present.

On the flip side, the superintendent tells me he didn't know the students or their parent had any problem with having to take part in a prayer in the first place.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also stepped up to offer its support to Jane Doe and her two children.

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