"Empty Classroom 2020" by Dobrislava / CC BY-SA 4.0

School prayer dispute: Greenville board splits, nixes legal settlement with humanist group

Sep 9, 2020

By Anne B. Mitchell

The agreement on prayer at school graduations had everything Greenville County’s school district wanted.

Students could lead prayers. Employees could bow their heads out of respect and utter a discreet “Amen” at the prayer’s conclusion.

But when faced with also paying the bills for a seven-year legal battle that the American Humanist Association — the country’s leading atheism advocacy group — has waged against South Carolina’s largest school district, trustees drew a line.

In a 6-6 vote Tuesday afternoon, the Greenville County school board rejected a settlement agreement with the humanist organization. The district declined to provide a copy of the settlement’s terms to the public, and the American Humanist Association earlier declined a request for comment.

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