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Saturday August 1st, 2015 7:51AM

Gainesville law firm issues response to atheist group

By Brian Stewart Reporter
GAINSEVILLE - Phillip Hartley of the Gainesville law firm Hartley, Harben, and Hawkins, LLP issued a statement to a Washington-based atheist group that is threatening a lawsuit against the Hall County school system over alleged coach-led prayer on the Chestatee High School football team.<br /> <br /> The letter was forwarded to Access North GA by Monica Miller, a lawyer for the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the legal arm of the American Humanist Association, which is the group threatening the lawsuit.<br /> <br /> In the document, Hartley says Hall County school system Superintendent Will Schofield "is committed to working with all school administrators in Hall County to see that the rights of all students, staff and citizens are protected."<br /> <br /> It goes on to say that all future correspondence will go through their law firm.<br /> <br /> Miller sent the original letter, dated August 12, on behalf of a concerned citizen, to the school board and Schofield, outlining the alleged infractions.<br /> <br /> It contained a two week window for a response from Hall County.<br /> <br /> Miller asked that the school system tell her what "steps [they] will take to rectify this constitutional infringement [or face a lawsuit]."<br /> <br /> Hartley's response says Schofield and Chestatee principal Suzanne Jarrard "reviewed the concerns expressed in [the original] letter, all of which appear to involve incidents that occurred almost a year ago."<br /> <br /> It goes on to say that one of the coaches referenced by the original document is no longer employed in the Hall County school system.<br /> <br /> When asked for comment on the letter, Hartley declined, saying he "thinks the letter speaks for itself."<br /> <br /> No word from either side if a lawsuit is forthcoming.<br /> <br /> Miller has not issued an official response, but expects to give one by the end of the day Tuesday.
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