UPDATE: Attorney Jonathan Scruggs spoke with us and contends it was the ADF letter that forced a change in the Glendo School policy concerning prayer.

When asked about Superintendent Fischer's statement that the incident happened in October, and was resolved in two days, and the ADF letter was dated December 4th, Scruggs contended the issue was not resolved. When pressed on the point Scruggs said, "All that really matters is that kids couldn't pray in the cafeteria and now they can."


A religious freedom advocacy group has claimed victory in a school prayer case here in Wyoming, but there are differing opinions on what exactly happened.
The group Alliance Defending Freedom says that the principal of Glendo High School, with a population of only 50 or so students, had prevented a group of 7 students from praying over their meals in the cafeteria.

The students had gathered as a group at the rear of the room to say grace.
The ADF says, they were contacted by a local pastor. They sent a letter to the school demanding that the “ban” on prayer be lifted. Here is how they phrased it in their press release…

“No student should be prevented from engaging in private prayer alone or quietly with other students on campus,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “The U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on this specifically. The First Amendment protects the right to pray in a non-disruptive manner not just in private but in public, too. The district has done the right thing in lifting its unconstitutional ban.”

Our news team contacted the Superintendent, Dennis Fischer, and he said that the entire incident was actually settled weeks before the ADF letter. Here is his response to our inquiry…

First, thank you for the opportunity to provide more information on this incident. The Alliance Defending Freedom had sent our district a letter entitled “Unlawful Ban on Student Prayer at Glendo High School” and asked for us to drop the ban. Last Thursday I sent them a response saying the district does not have a ban on prayer and the students were allowed to pray in the lunch room. Initially we had talked to the students and offered them another place to pray. After talking to a mother who was actually in the lunch room at the time of the prayer, it was clear that the students were within their rights under the Equal Access Act to pray in the manner that they did pray in the lunch room and the Glendo school principal notified the students as such. This was all done within a week and long before the Alliance Defending Freedom was notified or that they notified us.
The students have since prayed in the lunch room since the initial incident and we considered the situation handled sufficiently. In my response to the ADF I gave them these facts and they ‘interpreted’ our allowing them to pray as having ‘lifted a ban’ which was never in place.
Thank you again for allowing us to respond.
Dennis Fischer, Superintendent
Platte County #1, Wheatland/Glendo/Chugwater

In a phone call, Fischer said the initial report was that the small group was trying to lead the cafeteria in prayer, and that a couple of parents had complained. He told us that they were offered an adjoining room for that kind of activity.
Fischer said when it was determined that was not the case, though, they were told the prayer in the cafeteria was indeed fully protected and the students have continued to pray since.
Fischer said they answered the ADF letter as a courtesy, but that there was never a “ban” and indeed the incident was settled within 2 days.
We called the ADF and asked to speak to the attorney involved, Jonathan Scruggs, but were told we needed to speak to a media person first. After leaving a message, we have not yet heard back, but will update this story as soon as we do.


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