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ECISD Parent Prayer Protest

This weekends graduation's in Odessa will not include any reference to prayer. It's a recent change Ector County ISD made, and it has some parents and students upset.
ODESSA, TX (Local Big 2 News) - This weekends graduations in Odessa will not include any reference to prayer. It's a recent change Ector County ISD made, and it has some parents and students upset.

Bright posters with strong messages, megaphones, and eight year old Nathan Coudding.

"Basically, we have the right to pray, because all of this was created by him," said eight year old Nathan Coudding.

Coudding came out to support prayer at Odessa High School, and Permian High School graduation ceremonies. He says praying is a way to show our appreciation for God.

"It's a thank you to God to say, thank you for making this Earth, making us, because without him today, none of this would have been here," said Coudding.

Parents and students gathered in front of the Ector County ISD building Monday to stand up for their beliefs.

This comes after Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to ECISD saying the district was not in compliance with state law.

"The school district had a policy of having the students vote on whether or not to have a prayer at the graduations or not, this was in clear violation of a U.S. Supreme Court case," said Americans United Associate Legal Director Alex Luchenitser.

The organization's Associate Legal Director Alex Luchenitser tells me parents have no reason to be upset.

"I don't think they have any good reason to be upset, they haven't prohibted students from praying, just said we're not going to do anything that encourages students to pray one way or another," said Luchenitser.

Parents tell me, they aren't just upset, they're disappointed.

"This has been a tradition since the beginning of time," said parent Allen Sutphen.

Allen Sutphen was more than 50 parents and students who came out to make their voices be heard.

"I'm proud that our kids are standing up for what they believe is right," said Sutphen.

"This country was founded on God and there's no need to change it now," said Sutphen.

Praying is what these students will continue to do.

"Prayers after prayers after prayers," said former OHS student Ashley Livesay.
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