SANDY CREEK TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A superintendent is taking heat from the ACLU.
Frank McClard, superintendent in the Lakeview School District, is accused of mandating prayer in his district.
The ACLU sent a letter to McClard back in August, saying it had received complaints that McClard was encouraging prayer during mandatory in-service days for teachers at the Lakeview School District.
McClard also reportedly started a prayer group called “Apple Chapel” that met before the school day and posted religious messages in a blog on the district’s website.
In its letter, an attorney with the ACLU said: “These actions convey the message to students and district employees that the district endorses religion, particularly Christianity, and have the effect of coercing school district employees to participate in religious exercise.”
However, one pastor who participates in the daily prayer group says the superintendent does not require anyone to be there.
“Before class begins and before school hours, there’s prayer available for the students or for the teachers and it’s not mandatory and some days some people come to pray, some days nobody comes to pray,” Rev. Nick Wilson, pastor of Lakeview Church of God, said. “But to my knowledge, it’s not something that’s mandatory that anybody has to do.”
Superintendent McClard has apologized for allowing prayer during those in-service meetings and has since removed religious postings from his blog.
He does not want to comment at this point, but an attorney with the school district says they have launched their own investigation.