Reply to "Group complains about Brooks’ pregame prayers"

Following is Superintendent Valentine's memo that was distributed at this morning's meeting with the principals:

I realize that many will be disappointed or disagree with the decision outlined in this memo. However, after research with and by the school board's attorney with regard to current rulings by the 11th District U.S. Court and by the U.S. Supreme Court, the direction is clear in what we must do as school officials and as a school system in order to comply with the law. These courts and others across our nation have ruled more than once that prayer organized, supported, encouraged, and/or promoted by public schools before a football game is unconstitutional.School systems who have refused to comply or who tired to evade these federal court decisions have been and are subject to sanctions including fines, damages, attorney fees, and potential loss of federal funds for educational programs. Actually, some school systems have spent large sums of money in attempting to fight this type of situation and have lost. While I do not personally like some of the decisions that I have to make as superintendent (as this is one of those), and when acting as a private citizen do not agree with all laws or court decisions, as a public official I have sworn to follow the law. The directive that I have issued today does that --- follows the case law. To do differently, would place the well-being of the school system in jeopardy while encouraging others to reak the law. That I will not do.

I respectfully request your understanding.

Thank you and enjoy the days that we have been given.

William L. Valentine
Superintendent
Lauderdale County Schools
P.O. Box 278
Florence, AL 35631
Phone 256-760-1300

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