Pickens School Board Prayer Changes Approved - WSPA.com

Pickens School Board Prayer Changes Approved

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People came to Monday nights Pickens County School Board meeting to make their final plea to the board to keep religious based prayer at the beginning of its school board meetings. 

"Please vote to be right not safe," Pickens County resident Vicky Gibson said. 

 "The point I'm trying to make tonight is we are giving up without a fight," another resident said. 

Despite pleas the board passed a  new policy 3 to 2 to allow only non sectarian or non religious based prayers. But the board was strongly divided as one member chose to abstain. 

"This board has sold your soul to protect themselves," board member Jim Shelton said. 

The board came up with the new policy after the freedom from religion foundation threatened to sue the district over its student led prayer. 

"Taking a stand like your suggesting will be a legal defeat and it will be costly," Board member Alex Saitta said. 

The new policy doesn't satisfy the freedom from religion foundation and it still may sue the district.  
We obtained a copy of a letter sent by the organization to the board claiming prayer in any form is unconstitutional.
We asked Greenville attorney Grant Varner if the new prayer policy would stand up in court.

"My feel of the climate of the Supreme Court of South Carolina at this time is that they would back Pickens county," Varner said. 

We did some digging and found freedom from religion foundation is currently suing a Lexington county district over a similar school prayer issue. 
A big reason some board members say they had no choice but to adapt the policy.
But despite the threat of A law suit, Monday nights decision has little community support.

"You are simply the latest example of why people no longer respect Christianity god and the church?" A Pickens County high school student said. 

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