Beliefnet
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christian-bible-on-flagPeter Brigg, the principal of Sabold Elementary School in Springfield, would say “God Bless America” following the Pledge of Allegiance over the loud speaker. After the district received a legal complaint, he was forced to stop.

The district received the complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of a parent who claimed that Brigg’s actions broke the law.

An attorney from FFRF sent a letter to the district superintendent Tony Barber on March 25th, complaining that publicly announcing the expression violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits of government sponsoring religious messages.

The foundation continued by stating “young elementary school children don’t need to be coerced into affirming God’s name every morning.”

The district released a statement Friday confirming that it received a complaint that reciting the words “God Bless America” over the loudspeaker “violated the law” and that it would stop the practice immediately.

“In accordance with District protocol, this complaint was forwarded to our District Solicitor’s Office. Based upon the Solicitor’s legal research and recommendation, we ceased this practice. Continuation of any practices that may be unlawful would only expose the District to litigation, which the local taxpayers would have to financially support,” the statement read.

The district went on to say that students who wanted to say the phrase after the pledge could still do so. Students were never obligated to repeat it in the many years Brigg used the religious phrase to conclude the pledge, but they were welcome to do so if they chose.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation said it was pleased with the resolution reached by the school district.

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