Florida’s Nassau County School Board won’t be bullied by an atheist group who tried to shut down a student’s right to free speech and stop him from saying, “God bless America.”
A Yulee High School student who was initially reprimanded for saying, “God bless America,” has been approved to continue to use the phrase, according to a statement issued by the county school board.
The incident started when the student went “off script” during morning announcements over the school’s PA system.
Two students, who were apparently very offended, bypassed local school authorities and complained to a national atheist group, the American Humanist Association.
The group’s legal counsel sent a bullying “cease and desist” letter to Yulee High School with the threat of a lawsuit.
Despite the Yulee principal and superintendent caving to the AHA’s demands with an apologetic letter, the school board has concluded – with the help of its own legal counsel – that the student was well within his rights.
“We feel that the complaint on behalf of another student 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,” the board said in a statement.
The incident has garnered national attention and the student who was reprimanded has had public support.
The school board said regardless of “any personal beliefs,” their duty is to protect the rights of all students, reported First Coast News.
“Our intent during the process has been to weigh and seek to establish the rights for all students under our jurisdiction and authority,” the board’s statement said.
“Our hope is that the phrase ‘God Bless America’ will continue to ring in the halls of Congress, in our stadiums, in our arenas, in the halls of our schools and, most importantly, in the hearts of our children.”
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