Virginia school board bars team from wearing 'Pray for Peace' shirts for Ukraine: 'Defies all logic'

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Virginia student-athletes are pushing back after their school board prohibited them from wearing “Pray for Peace” shirts in support of Ukraine, deeming the shirts too “political” and “religious.”

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Blacksburg High School Lacrosse Captain Elise Levison and her mother Clare Levison discussed the backlash from the Montgomery County school board’s decision on “Fox & Friends First” on Tuesday. 

“The team was pretty upset,” Elise told co-host Carley Shimkus. “All we were trying to do is just spread a positive message that was really our only intention, and we’ve actually gotten a lot of support from the school.”

A man rides a motorbike past a house damaged by shelling in Chernihiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) 

A man rides a motorbike past a house damaged by shelling in Chernihiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) 

“I’ve had teachers stop me in the hallway and say what we’re doing is the right thing and that they support us, so the community feedback has been really great,” she continued. 

Elise said her lacrosse team wanted to support their coach, who volunteered at orphanages in Ukraine, as Putin’s assault continues to send millions fleeing from their homes in fear for their lives. 

“I just can’t believe that the interim superintendent actually said that peace is political because peace comes from war and war is about people with different views,” Clare said, adding it “defies all logic.”

The lacrosse team proposed changing the shirt to say “Play for Peace,” but that slogan was also rejected, according to Elise. 

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“The school has really doubled and even tripled down on their stance, so I hope that this issue continues to get national attention because I think people do need to know what’s taking place in the schools. And this one is just completely beyond the pale,” Clare said. 

The wife, center, of 44-year-old soldier Tereshko Volodymyr, second right, prays and mourns his death before his funeral ceremony, after he died in action, at the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul Church in Lviv, western Ukraine, Monday, April 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

The wife, center, of 44-year-old soldier Tereshko Volodymyr, second right, prays and mourns his death before his funeral ceremony, after he died in action, at the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul Church in Lviv, western Ukraine, Monday, April 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

The school board chair, Sue Kass, and Interim Superintendent Whitaker released a joint statement on the matter to CBN News. 

“The concerns about the warmups are not related to student speech as the team members did not initiate the discussion or purchase the shirts,” the statement reads. “The role of the School Board is to implement our policies in an unbiased way. Staff-led activism is a topic our Board has been discussing throughout the year, including flags, posters, and clothing that show support for specific groups or issues. It is not permissible for school-issued, staff-sponsored apparel to promote specific causes, groups, or beliefs.”

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