Parents defend Sylacauga school system after religious assembly complaints

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Parents are defending Sylacauga City Schools after the Wisconsin-based group, Freedom From Religion Foundation, sent a warning letter to the superintendent.

The FFRF claims the district violated the First Amendment through religious assemblies at two Sylacauga schools.

"It was completely voluntary," said Trey Liner, whose son attended the assembly.

Liner's son is a student at Nichols-Lawson Middle School and told his dad he wanted to be a part of the assembly, called Breakthrough.

According to Liner, permission slips were sent home.

"I felt proud and I felt we made the right decision to choose that school," Liner said.

But FFRF said in a press release, the assemblies were in violation and included religious music, bible verses and prayer.

"Everybody had a choice not to go," Liner said, in response. " The children had an option not to go , the parent had the option to stop their children from going even if the children did want to go."

The program also included the distribution of bibles.

"I asked my son if they asked if you wanted one or did they just hand it to you," Liner said. "He said they just had them there and people were getting them. So I said that's good because I know some people would be offended if they forced a bible into a kid's hand."

The Foundation states the school system was endorsing the Christian message by giving religious organizations access to the students.

They are requesting the school system not allow those groups to present in the district's schools again.

Liner told ABC 33/40 it shouldn't matter if an option was given.

"Even if it is other religious organizations... they're going to have people that want to go to that too," he said. "And I fully support that, I think that's okay."

Superintendent Dr. Michael Freeman told ABC 33/40 he will continue to look over the information from the FFRF.

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