Published On: Sun, Feb 22nd, 2015

School rules saying ‘God Bless You’ is not unconstitutional

The Florida high school that told a student not to say “God bless America” during morning announcements after a threat from the American Humanist Association. The district now stands with the student, protecting his free speech, saying that the student did not violate the U.S. Constitution.
“Upon consultation with legal counsel and review of legal advisories, the Nassau County School District has taken the position that a student’s use of the phrase “God Bless America” during the morning announcements at Yulee High School does not violate the Constitution of the United States,” the school district said in a statement.
photo Josh Janssen via Flickr

photo Josh Janssen via Flickr

Nassau County School District spokeswoman Sharyl Wood said the morning script restriction still applies. “The admonition not to add to the script applies to anything,” she said, noting that the students must remain “on-script” during the announcements, essentially preventing the student from saying “God Bless You” again or face penalty.

The controversy started when the American Humanist Association sent a six-page letter to the principal at Yulee High School on behalf of two atheist students at the school.
In the letter, the Humanist Association said the phrase “God bless America” is a religious message that “is invidious toward atheists and other nonbelievers,” and that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment that “commands a separation of church and state.”
The school district said the complaint filed through the American Humanist Association “should not supersede the right of other students to use the phrase, as it does not promote any religious denomination and is commonly used as an expression of patriotism.”
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