Teen discusses losing faith then suing over prayer in her school - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Teen discusses losing faith then suing over prayer in her school

Kaylee Cole says there is no escaping God in her school.  And although raised as a Christian, the teenager says the pressure to pray on campus has instead backfired and led to her losing her faith - and choosing to sue. (Source: KSLA News 12) Kaylee Cole says there is no escaping God in her school. And although raised as a Christian, the teenager says the pressure to pray on campus has instead backfired and led to her losing her faith - and choosing to sue. (Source: KSLA News 12)
Religion's imprint on Webster Parish is undeniable. (Source: KSLA News 12) Religion's imprint on Webster Parish is undeniable. (Source: KSLA News 12)
Religion is "the foundation of who we are. That's why we live in this area; that's why we are here. That's why my address is in Webster Parish. It's because it's at the foundation of who I want to be," Greg Lee says. (Source: KSLA News 12) Religion is "the foundation of who we are. That's why we live in this area; that's why we are here. That's why my address is in Webster Parish. It's because it's at the foundation of who I want to be," Greg Lee says. (Source: KSLA News 12)
(KSLA) -

She says there is no escaping God in her school.

And although raised as a Christian, the teenager says the pressure to pray on campus has instead backfired and led to her losing her faith.

Now the Webster Parish student is an agnostic living in the heart of America's Bible Belt.

And for the first time, Kaylee Cole - a 17-year-old whose family contacted the ACLU upset over prayer at school - discusses why she has chosen to sue.

The ACLU recently targeted Bossier and Webster school districts over student-led prayers during school announcements and at athletic events.

Officials with both districts say they're doing nothing wrong.

Even Congressman Mike Johnson and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry have come up with the Louisiana Student Rights Review.

It's a 12-page document that provides students, teachers and administrators with guidelines on how they can express religion in public schools. 

The imprint of religion on Webster Parish and, in particular, is undeniable. 

At one intersection alone, there are no less than seven churches.

Greg Lee says that's part of the reason he calls Webster Parish his home.

Like his father and his grandfather, Lee grew up in rural Louisiana.

He's a banker by profession but sees himself more as a servant of God.

And in Webster Parish, he's not alone.

"It's the foundation of who we are. That's why we live in this area; that's why we are here. That's why my address is in Webster Parish. It's because it's at the foundation of who I want to be."

God and prayer are so fundamental to the community that their influence is visible in the halls of public schools.

And just like students at any other school in Webster Parish, those at Lakeside Junior-Senior High School in Sibley start their day with the pledge of allegiance. 

But it's what they do afterward that makes it so different. 

Students remain standing, reciting Christian prayers while Bible verses are broadcast over the school's public address system. 

After Christmas break, that stopped.

"Whenever I started sitting down for the prayers, I could just feel every pair of eyes on me," said 17-year-old Kaylee Cole, a senior at Lakeside.

In Webster School District, she says, there's no getting away. 

God is everywhere.

"Football games, they have prayers in them. Our pep rallies, sometimes they have prayers in them. Any sort of ceremony."

Fed up, Cole was pushed by her Mom to sue the school over what they call religious indoctrination. They are being represented by the ACLU.

School Distict officials declined to comment for this story.

But in their court response, they deny some claims and admit to others.

"A voluntary student-led prayer was delivered in the morning at Lakeside."

But school officials deny their actions were unlawful or unconstitutional.

"For somebody like me, and some of my friends I know ... it just kind of feels like, it does feel like a church," Cole said.

"When you walk into a classroom and you see want a change? Pray. And daily objectives, 'Love God. Worship God. Read the Bible.'  
"Doesn't it feel like that?" 

Landry, Louisiana's attorney general, co-authored his religious freedom document in the shadow of a painting of Moses flanked by the scales of justice and a copy of the Holy Bible.

When asked if God has a place in public schools, he replied: "Well, God has a place, I believe, in everyone's hearts."

Even in public school?

"Even in everyone's hearts," the attorney general responded.

At the core of Webster Parish are its residents' longstanding Christian beliefs.

They are beliefs for which Lee says he's willing to fight.

Not just for the soul of Webster Parish, but for the soul of America.

"If you begin to tell me that my children do not have the right to pray in school, then that's an attack upon the relationship I have with my God and the relationship that they have with our God."

And that's a bond that they dare anyone to break.

Copyright 2018 KSLA. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Heart of Louisiana: 1915 hurricane

    Heart of Louisiana: 1915 hurricane

    Source: FOX 8Source: FOX 8
    Source: FOX 8Source: FOX 8

    If you’ve ever driven I-55 between Laplace and Ponchatoula, you’ve probably noticed an exit for Ruddock. Today it’s only a boat launch, but a century ago, it was a thriving railroad town until a hurricane washed it away. 

    more>>

    If you’ve ever driven I-55 between Laplace and Ponchatoula, you’ve probably noticed an exit for Ruddock. Today it’s only a boat launch, but a century ago, it was a thriving railroad town until a hurricane washed it away. 

    more>>
  • Pelicans select Tony Carr in the second round of NBA Draft

    Pelicans select in the second round of NBA Draft

    Pelicans selected guard Tony Carr in the second round (51st overall) (Photo: Penn State athletic department)Pelicans selected guard Tony Carr in the second round (51st overall) (Photo: Penn State athletic department)

    Penn State Point guard Tony Carr is the newest member of the New Orleans Pelicans. The team drafted him in the second round with 51st overall pick. Carr  is 6'5 and averaged 19.6 points and 5.0 assists per game last season. He shot 43.3% from three-point range as well. Carr played two seasons for the Nittany Lions. Carr is considered a bigger point guard with a quality mid-range game. The Pelicans did not have a first round pick after trading it away during the season for ...

    more>>

    Penn State Point guard Tony Carr is the newest member of the New Orleans Pelicans. The team drafted him in the second round with 51st overall pick. Carr  is 6'5 and averaged 19.6 points and 5.0 assists per game last season. He shot 43.3% from three-point range as well. Carr played two seasons for the Nittany Lions. Carr is considered a bigger point guard with a quality mid-range game. The Pelicans did not have a first round pick after trading it away during the season for ...

    more>>
  • Saints report to training camp 7/25

    Saints report to training camp 7/25

    Saints Training Camp starts in late July. (FOX 8 graphic).Saints Training Camp starts in late July. (FOX 8 graphic).

    Saints players now know when they'll return from their summer break. Veterans will report on July 25th. Rookies will report July 18th. Training camp will once again be at the team facility in Metairie. In years past, practices began one day after veterans report though no official schedule has been released. The Saints will open their preseason August 9th against Jacksonville. Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.

    more>>

    Saints players now know when they'll return from their summer break. Veterans will report on July 25th. Rookies will report July 18th. Training camp will once again be at the team facility in Metairie. In years past, practices began one day after veterans report though no official schedule has been released. The Saints will open their preseason August 9th against Jacksonville. Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.

    more>>
Powered by Frankly