HAYDEN, Ala (WIAT) — For Blount County schools, Friday was the first football game where a prayer was not allowed to be said over the P.A. system, but that didn’t stop the community.
Normally, one student, the senior chaplain, would say a prayer over the microphone, but since that’s not allowed anymore, everyone said the prayer together during the moment of silence.
It was a big game for Hayden high school. It was homecoming, but also a change in tradition.
“I was confused because we do it all the time, they would have told us sooner that it was against the law, but no one has raised a problem until recently,” said Kennedy Chastain, a senior at Hayden High School.
Since the announcement that a prayer will not be read over the PA system, students and parents have taken an initiative like handing out the Lord’s prayer and making signs.
“There’s no need to get angry. We have a voice and we need to be proactive as Christians to do something about it. We don’t need to sit around and let it happen,” said Nicholas Chapman, a Blount Co Schools parent.
A moment of silence was replaced with the prayer, since prayer in public school is not allowed under Freedom from Religious Foundation. When that time came, it wasn’t silent, but cohesive.
“It gave me chills. I wanted to cry,” said Hope McDuffie, the senior chaplain for Hayden High School.
“It was amazing seeing everyone come together and just that everyone knew the correct words and when to say it, it was a sense of unity coming together in a time of abandonment,” said Chastain.
Even the football team made a strong stance but walking on field with “In God we trust” signs.
“I was upset I couldn’t do it anymore but honestly it’s better and now everyone is getting to say the prayer and everyone is getting into it and I feel like more hearts are going to be open anyway,” said McDuffie.
Students and parents said this isn’t meant to exclude anyone, but prayer to them is what this community is about.
“We’re going to pray to God. It’s just not right to not pray before a football game but a moment of silence is the best way for every religion to have their own opportunity to pray,” said Chastain.