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'Duck Dynasty' school prayer clubs: Praying at school is against the law, right?

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Controversy seems to be part of the "Duck Dynasty" brand these days. The latest? Apparently the Robertson clan from the hit AETV show are inspiring students to form prayer clubs at schools. At least that's what Sadie Robertson, Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson's 16-year-old daughter, told a bunch of students this week in Alabama.

Yahoo Screen reported Jan. 14 that Sadie Robertson was speaking at the Prattville Christian Academy in Montgomery, Ala., and noted that the show, with its emphasis on Christian morals and prayer before meals, has prompted a trend in schools where students are forming prayer clubs to pray before lunch.

“For a TV show to bring prayer into schools, that’s awesome,” she said, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Sadie also told the gathering that the family has agreed not to talk about the comments her grandfather, Phil Robertson, made during a GQ magazine interview. Those remarks -- seen by many as derogatory toward homosexuals and African Americans -- got the family patriarch suspended from the show. A national debate over First Amendment rights, both free speech and freedom of worship (Robertson's views on gays stem from Christian biblical verse), became hot topics. Petitions were signed to bring the popular duck hunter back to the show and AETV soon bowed to public pressure.

But what about the prayer clubs? Should they be allowed? Isn't there a law against praying in schools?

The short answer is "no." Actually, the long answer is the same. It is not against any law for schoolchildren to engage in prayer at school. Teachers and administrators are not allowed to proselytize to their charges; this is true (because they are generally seen as government employees and, as such, cannot engage in activities that might be seen as condoning or condemning any religion or religious act). But as long as no discriminatory acts are perpetrated, the rights of individual students remain intact. Simply put: They can pray if they wish.

And that will undoubtedly make Phil -- and Sadie and others in the "Duck Dynasty" clan -- Robertson happy, happy, happy.

But let the American Civil Liberties Union get wind of the prayer clubs being organized by anyone associated with school administration and watch lawsuits get filed quicker than Phil can fire off one of those new "Duck Dynasty" guns.

The fifth season of "Duck Dynasty," complete with the reinstated Phil Robertson, premieres on AETV on Wednesday night, Jan. 15, at 10 p.m. EST.


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