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Buncombe County school system says prayer a violation

ASHEVILLE (AP) — A Buncombe County Schools spokesman says a prayer at a fundraiser for a high school band violated the policy on religion.

Several students and at least one parent complained about the prayer at an event hosted by the North Buncombe Band Boosters last weekend, the Asheville Citizen Times reported.

The fundraiser was not held on school property and occurred at a “Field of Honor” flag display designed to honor veterans. It also was designed to raise money for the band to travel to Hawaii for the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade.

But school spokesman Jason Rhodes said the Christian prayer violated policy since all the members of the band were present.

The policy states that schools will neither advance nor inhibit any religious belief, viewpoint, expression, or practice.

“This was a flagrant breaking of policy,” said Ginger Strivelli, a Pagan and the mother of a student at the event.

Strivelli helped push for the policy several years ago after her son came home from North Windy Ridge Intermediate School with a Bible. School officials said Gideons International left the Bibles at the school for students.

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