The Walker County School superintendent says statements from the Freedom From Religion Foundation are "puzzling and disturbing. "
Damon Raines today responded to the latest demands from the Wisonsin-based group who says pre-game meals and religious statements by the head coach are illegal.
Another football night in north Georgia and another pre-game meal for players at Ridgeland High.
After an exchange of letters going back to mid-summer, the district and the Freedom from Religion Foundation have not found any agreement about whether federal laws are being broken.
In a letter Thursday, Superintendent Damon Raines says the group is "mis-characterizing" some of the facts.
DAMON RAINES, SUPERINTENDENT, WALKER COUNTY SCHOOLS "Well, they came back with a response that said we were still using the bible as a motivational tool, which we talk about that in the letter, and also taking the kids to a church for that pre-game meal. They still contend that's unconstitutional. "
Freedom From Religion has cited football coach Mark Mariakis, saying he encourages churches to prepare pre-game meals, and that school buses are used to take the team there."
DAMON RAINES "We typically don't go to the church itself..we go to an activity building or the gymnasium..we're there about 15 minutes..we're back on the bus and back to school."
Raines says those issues were addressed.
DAMON RAINES "First of all we wanted to make sure we were in compliance with the law..we don't ever want to have a student thats put in a situation they feel uncomfortable..we tried to address that."
As for the meals, the school district challenges Freedom from Religion's use of a ruling from the wrong circuit court.
DAMON RAINES "What they're quoting is the, I think the 7th district ..we're in the eleventh district...there's not a law that state's that can't happen."
Raines says, with this last letter he considers the issue closed.
Unlike some groups targeted by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, there are no pre-game prayers at Ridgeland High school football games.
The issue is pre-game meals and motivational talks by the coach.