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Tuesday May 31st, 2016 2:21AM

Chestatee students rally in support of football coaches in light of legal threat

By Staff
GAINESVILLE - Students at Chestatee High School in northwest Hall County gathered at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday in support of football coaches who are under fire by an atheist organization that is threatening legal action over religious activities on the War Eagle team.<br /> <br /> A letter from the American Humanist Association of Washington, D.C. said the group wants the school to stop football coaches from leading and participating in prayer with players. In addition, the letter objected to Scripture references distributed to players on team-related documents.<br /> <br /> Students called for the rally on War Eagle Field after learning about the threatened lawsuit.<br /> <br /> Kristopher Pierce, a player on the War Eagle football team who participated in the morning rally, said he was shocked when he heard that AHA had threatened to file a lawsuit if coaches did not stop participating in team prayer. <br /> <br /> "We're just gathering, having a prayer circle for those who want to come out...and pray freely and stand up as a whole school," said Pierce. <br /> <br /> The senior running back said while the controversy was causing a stir in the community, he didn't think it would affect the attitude of the football team.<br /> <br /> "It will not stop...preparation for our first scrimmage game nor will it stop us from having an awesome season," said Pierce.<br /> <br /> The letter from AHA was sparked by a complaint from a concerned citizen, according to content in the letter.<br /> <br /> One student, Cody Cornett, said he could understand why some people might be confused over the role of prayer in public school.<br /> <br /> "As long as it's student-led, I think it's okay, but if a teacher or a coach is trying to lead it or trying to force it, I don't think that's right," said Cornett.<br /> <br /> About 200 students attended the prayer rally.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
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