YULEE, Fla. – A high school student in Florida was prohibited from mentioning God during his morning announcements.
The Yulee High student always ended his announcements with “God Bless America,” which, according to Nassau County Schools, was not part of the script.
Some parents disagree with the decision to ban that part of his speech.
“Why is it not okay for a student to say, ‘God Bless America?’ said Amy Richmond.
Officials say it wasn’t a problem until they received a complaint from the American Humanist Association.
A complaint by two anonymous atheist students caused the AHA to write the school principal and superintendent a six-page letter.
“They did not go to the school to complain because they felt intimidated,” said Dave Niose, the AHA legal director.
The letter said the phrase was “inappropriate and unlawful” and the “daily validation of the religious views of God-believers resigns atheists to second class citizens.”
To avoid a possible lawsuit, the principal told the student to stop saying “God Bless America.”
“He was not disciplined,” said Sharyl Wood, the district’s spokesperson. “He has been instructed to follow the script and do not say God Bless America.”
“Why is it a problem? ” said Jade Richmond, a sophomore at Yulee High School. “We have had posters with the LGBT message and no one has a problem with that.”
It’s a move that has stirred up controversy among parents and students.
“The president says God Bless America,” said Amy Richmond. “What is the big deal saying it in our school? I am so proud of him!”
Niose says it is not a free speech issue.
The AHA said the student’s statement was a “constitutional violation” and was “inappropriate.”