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Ron Baker, Pastor, To Hold Prayer At School Flagpole Despite Ban From Florida Schoolboard

Prayer By Flagpole

First Posted: 11/04/11 03:39 PM ET Updated: 11/04/11 04:05 PM ET

Prayer is at the center of debate between one pastor and a Florida county's public school system.

Ron Baker, a Baptist pastor, has been holding prayer sessions at several Clay County schools, for as long as 12 years, the Florida Times-Union reports. And he has no intention on stopping now, even after the school board told him it was unconstitutional.

At the center of the standoff is a reportedly voluntary prayer session held at the flagpole of one elementary school around 8:15 a.m. The Clay Country school board wrote that "it is a violation of the United States Constitution for a teacher, school administrator or other school district employee to join in a prayer session during their work time," the Christian Post reports.

In an effort to reach a compromise, school superintendent Ben W suggested that Baker hold the sessions at an earlier time, when employees aren't present on school grounds, but Baker told the Times-Union, "We're not changing anything."

"Did you ever think that in America you'd be in trouble for praying at the flag?" Baker told Fox News. "It's disturbing."

Concerns about forced prayer upon children have risen, but one mother whose children occasionally attend the sessions told the Christian Post the they were always held before school and were completely voluntary.

However, an attorney with the Baptist Joint Committee For Religious Liberty said it's understandable that public schools have to remain neutral with religion in order to "protect the religious liberty of all students."

"It is sad when a preacher does not recognize that the prohibition on state sponsorship of religion in America is one of our country's greatest strengths," K. Hollyn Hollman told The Huffington Post in an email.

Wortham said he will not get police involved. The school board will meet on Nov. 14 to discuss school prayers, according to the Times-Union.

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Filed by Ileana Llorens  |