See You at the Pole: Prayer day Sept. 15

Christians Call for Public Schools to Respect Right of Students, Teachers to Participate in National See You at the Pole Day
( [email protected] ) Sep 15, 2004 08:37 PM EDT

Students, educators and community members are expected to join on the National Day of Student Prayer, Wednesday, September 15, in prayer for their country, leaders, schools, classmates and families.

The theme for the 15th annual See You At the Pole is, "Ascend. Clean Hands. Pure Heart." The theme is in reference to Psalms 24:3-4, which explains that only those with "clean hands and a pure heart" may enter into God's presence, describing that place as "the hill of the Lord" or "His holy place."The student-initiated and student-led movement is also known as a National Day of Student Prayer.

The annual prayer gathering began in Burleson, Tex., in 1990, when organizers first challenged young people to meet on a common day to launch their school year in prayer. Last year more than 2 million teenagers participated across the United States and on six continents.

John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, is calling on public school administrators to respect the right of students and faculty to gather prior to the start of the school day and participate in their local “See You at the Pole” events.

“It’s important that students, teachers and others know that they have the right to participate in See You at the Pole events—a right affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “The rallies are part of a long tradition of free and equal participation in expressive activities guaranteed by our Constitution.”

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have succeeded in protecting the rights of students to promote and participate in SYATP events in previous years.

Last year, Rutherford Institute attorneys successfully defended the free speech and religious rights of a Fellowship of Christian Athletes student group in Kansas to advertise the See You at the Pole event on school bulletin boards. School administrators had prohibited the group from putting up posters, citing the posters’ religious content.

In Shoreline, Wash., high school officials prohibited a student from distributing information about See You at the Pole. After Institute legal staff informed school officials of the student’s rights, they quickly reversed their decision and allowed her to distribute the flyers.

In Texas, school officials refused to allow high school teachers to attend the See You at the Pole rally. After being alerted to possible legal action by The Rutherford Institute, school officials opted to respect the teachers’ constitutional rights.