KFSM News reports that Pea Ridge Public Schools have suspended public prayer at school board meetings and ballgames following a complaint from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Attorneys from the atheist group reportedly sent a letter to school officials claiming that the practice was unconstitutional.
However, federal courts have upheld public prayer repeatedly — especially at public meetings.
In 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that praying before city council meetings did not violate the Establishment Clause.
Courts have not been as favorable toward public prayer over loudspeakers at ballgames, but they have generally agreed that public school students and faculty do not lose their First Amendments freedoms by walking onto school property.
This isn’t the first time the Freedom From Religion Foundation has tried to bully Arkansas’ schools and officials.
This year the Freedom From Religion Foundation successfully bullied schools in Greenwood School District to stop promoting events like “See You at the Pole.”
The group also persuaded the Springdale public school to remove a cross that reportedly was displayed in the lunchroom at Linda Childers Knapp Elementary School.
In 2017 they threatened the Harrison Public School District over its policy of opening meetings with prayer. The school district ultimately decided to keep praying.
In 2017 the group demanded that Governor Hutchinson stop sharing Bible verses on his Facebook page.
In 2016 the Freedom From Religion Foundation tried to bully the City of El Dorado over its “40 Days of Prayer” campaign.
That same year the group went after Washington County election officials for using churches as polling places.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has complained about the fact that that Arkansas’ public school students can study the Bible academically — even though it is one of the oldest texts in existence and has had a profound influence on human history.
In 2015 the group complained about public prayer at ballgames in Ashdown.
The group also threatened to sue law enforcement in Arkansas over the words “In God We Trust” being displayed on police cruisers.
In 2015 they claimed they wanted to put an anti-religion monument on the Arkansas Capitol Grounds — an idle threat that went nowhere.
In 2014 the group targeted a pizza place in Searcy that offered Sunday discounts to people who brought church bulletins into the restaurant.
They also complained about ASU football players wearing crosses to honor a deceased teammate.
It’s worth noting that across the board, groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation threaten lawsuits; oftentimes if people stand their ground, no lawsuit is ever filed.