Complaint stops prayer at Pottsboro football games

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POTTSBORO, TX- Just a day before high school football kicks off in Texas, a Texoma community is shaken after they found out they can no longer have a public prayer before their home games.

"I hate to see that they've taken something away like that, that we've had every year."

Elisha George was upset when she found out Thursday that Pottsboro High School football games will no longer start with a school endorsed public prayer, like they have for years.
And she said that's a blow against her and fellow spectators' rights.

"Our country was based on that, on religion, and for them to take it away. It's just a really really sad thing because it affects the freedom of speech," she said.

Pottsboro ISD Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Matthews, said the new restriction stemmed from a complaint that was filed against the district after football season last year by The Freedom from Religion Foundation--an organization committed to the separation of church and state. He said the school district was advised to comply with the complaint by breaking tradition.

That didn't sit well with Georgetown Baptist Church pastor, Bobby Hancock, who's led prayer before the games.

"One by one it feels like we're losing our freedoms as Americans and specifically as Christians and it seems like they're tolerant of every other group but Christians," he said.

This football season will be the first time for Pottsboro to start their games without a prayer. Instead, they'll have a moment of silence.

"I don't think it's the same at all. I think moment of silence is another tag to put before a game for something to do," said Hancock.

Despite the new rule, Hancock said many will still say their prayers.

"Though we can't pray from a school standpoint, there are private citizens who will be standing Friday night praying to God," he said.

Pottsboro will host Aubrey for their first game of the season, Friday.