Controversy is brewing in a northern Georgia community after about 50 students prayed together Wednesday morning when school officials said they should have been in class.
The spontaneous prayer at Lumpkin County High School has become the talk of the town. Lumpkin County Schools Superintendent Dewey Moye said that a student started the prayer in a coach's office at 7:30 a.m. and it lasted more than two hours.
"It was a student-led initiative. The student showed up at the coach's office and the coach did pray with them and it went into the school day, over into the first period of the day," Moye said.
Moye says the student who initiated the prayer is part of the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. The superintendent said that before the prayer ended, 50 students had joined in. Moye said that the students were within their rights.
"I believe it's a Constitutional right to pray, yes I do. I believe they can do so at their desk, as long as they do not disrupt the school day," Moye said.
Moye says he realizes what happened Wednesday cannot happen again. He admits some parents called to complain about the prayer, but he says that going forward, procedures and policies will be followed.
While he said that he will not discipline the coach and students, Moye says from now on, there will be no prayers during school hours.
One student was suspended for three days for being overly aggressive to an administrator who would not let another person join the prayer group.