College of Alameda prayer lawsuit

Back in December of 2007, two College of Alameda students were disciplined and threatened with expulsion for praying.

From the accounts I’ve read, it sounds like one student was praying with an instructor in an office shared by another instructor and refused to stop at the request of instructor whose office it was. Words were then exchanged between the instructor, the praying student, and the student’s friend. From Peter Hegarty’s Alameda Journal account, Steven Wood the attorney for the students said:

It’s not about money at all, it’s about principle…The students want the district to admit that it was wrong, apologize and recognize that they have the right to take part in nondisruptive prayer.

The story has been covered in the religious press: here and here. In a March 31 ruling, a San Francisco judge denied the College of Alameda’s request to dismiss the case and so it will continue to work its way through the court system.


  • http://ww.linkedin/in/jonmspangler Jon Spangler

    The College of Alameda’s behavior in this instance is unacceptable. Public prayer is protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution, and personal prayer is not prohibited on public property.

    There is a huge gap between permitting free speech–including religious speech–and endorsing one religion over another, which is the basis of the appropriate separation of church and state doctrine. In this instance, the College of Alameda and its (non-praying) staff have gone far beyond taking reasonable precautions to keep church and state doctrines separated.