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4The Daily Tar HeelThursday, November 30, 1 989
State and National
Thomasville residents oppose pre-game prayer policy
By CHUCK WILLIAMS
The community of Thomasville
continues to react to a decision to cease
prayer before high school football
The decision was enacted by Tho
masville School Superintendent Ronald
Singletary in October.
Since the ban went into effect, many
town residents have angrily reacted and
called for the restoration of prayer before
football games. Thomasville High
School traditionally began games with
a prayer and singing of the national
anthem, as do many schools across the
Singletary issued the new policy on
the counsel of a local lawyer.
"It was on the advice of our school
board attorney, Russell Batten," Single
By ERIC LUSK
Tuesday's $5.4 million rulingagainst
two Winston-Salem bar owners in a
drunk-driving incident raises questions
on N.C.'s "dram-shop" statutes, some
restaurant and bar owners say.
Tuesday's verdict ordered Paul and
Margie Wilson, owners of The Friendly
Inn, to pay the $5.4 million to the family
of Lanny and Nancy Bradley, a couple
killed by a drunk driver.
The suit alleged that Alfred Vance
became intoxicated at The Friendly Inn
shortly before the accident occured in
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Batten said he gave the advice after
receiving a complaint from Charles
Lambeth, another attorney in Tho
masville. "We implemented the policy after
we received a complaint from Charles
Lambeth," Batten said. "There was a
similar case from Georgia brought
before the Supreme Court, who refused
to review it. Our policy was temporar
ily adopted in October and will be
adopted permanently in December."
The Supreme Court refused to re
view the Doug Jager case earlier this
year, in effect upholding the policy.
Jager was an American Indian in the
marching band at Douglas County High
School in Georgia. In 1985, his family
sued to stop invocations before football
fines bar owners for
March 1987. The Bradley family sued
because they said The Friendly Inn's
staff should have known Vance was
drunk, and yet they continued to serve
him alcoholic beverages.
The Wilsons failed to respond to the
lawsuit; thus, by N.C. law they were
found guilty of all allegations presented.
"While I'm not totally familiar with
that case, I don't feel that it is fair to
make bar and restaurant owners totally
responsible for their customers," said
Mike McCormick, manager of Players
nightclub on Franklin Street.
N.C. dram-shop statutes state that
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The strong reaction to the new pol
icy in Thomasville was somewhat
expected, community leaders said.
"We're a very religious community,
so I did expect this reaction," Single
tary said. "The board of education has
put a pol icy in place and, given a chance,
it will work. I expect disapproval to go
Some residents hoped reaction would
"I was hoping it would not occur,"
said Lambeth, the attorney who com
plained to the board that a policy should
be adopted. "It has occurred in a lot of
other school districts."
The nature of the community made
such a reaction likely, said Daniel
Copman, principal of Thomasville High
"I'm not surprised by the reaction,"
taverns or bars may be held liable for
any accidents caused by intoxicated
customers. Another statute states that
injured persons may collect $500,000
from a bar or restaurant that sells alco
holic beverages to underage persons.
McCormick said he agreed with
holding the bar responsible for some
one who is visibly drunk.
"If someone could blow a .25 (blood
alcohol content on a breathalyzer test)
or something, then obviously the bar
tender needs to cut that person off. The
problem really arises when someone's
on the borderline."
He said it was sometimes a tough
call for bartenders to tell whether
someone is intoxicated.
"The dram-shop laws are asking us
to be totally responsible for someone
else's actions. That puts a lot of pres
sure on bartenders and owners."
Mark Burnett, manager of He's Not
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Copman said. "There's quite a few
people in the community who take their
religious beliefs very seriously."
Despite the complaints, officials have
defended the policy and plan to stand
by the ban.
"We are simply upholding the law as
we are sworn to do," said Singletary.
The law on the issue is clearly stated,
"The officials have stuck to it,"
Copman said. "It's pretty much clear
cut from an administrative point of
view. The First Amendment separation
of church and state is well-defined.
There are people of other religious
beliefs here, and all people have the
right to religious freedom."
The new policy in Thomasville may
also cause other school systems to
examine their policies on prayer before
deaths caused by drunk driver
Here, agreed that the dram-shop stat
utes were too tough.
"In some ways, we are responsible
for our customers, but it's not all the
bar's fault. It takes two to tango. The
drinker also has to take some sort of
responsibility for himself."
Burnett suggested that liability
needed to be split even' K ;tween the
drinker and the server.
He also said that while some parts of
the dram-shop statutes needed to be
changed, they had helped people be
come more aware of the cautions of
drinking and driving.
"People aren't driving as much. More
people know what a DWI will do, and
they are acting more responsible."
Most local restaurant and bar own
ers ask their staff members to use
common sense and judgment before
serving customers alcohol. Owners said
they usually only accepted driver's
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"I think it's going to cause other
schools to be challenged," Singletary
said. "It will probably be an issue in
Other school systems have already
dealt with the issue.
"I'm no expert on this policy, but I
believe High Point and Greensboro and
other metropolitan areas have gotten
away from (prayer before games)," said
A spokesman at the office of Joel
Long, director of high school athletics
for Wake County, said there is no writ
ten policy in Wake County pertaining
to prayer before games.
Reaction at the school from students
and coaches has been varied, as in the
community, said Copman.
"The coaches had very much their
licenses, military IDs or passports as
identification and tried to card all cus
tomers appearing under 30 years old.
Bob McBay, manager of Darryl's
1890 Restaurant and Tavern in Dur
ham, said he encouraged employees to
give away appetizers to intoxicated
customers and, if needed, call them a
cab to get them home.
Phi Gamma Delta president Joe
Hogan said he felt the next move was
up to the fraternities. "Once we get our
act together they'll be able to help us."
Hardin said he hoped to meet again
with the IPC, probably next semester.
"The things we'll be talking about run
the gamut from the condition of the
houses to rushing styles."
One of the main topics of the meet
ing was the position of assistant to the
dean of students, who works with fra
ternities on any problems they have.
The Greek adviser position is now only
part time, but several fraternity leaders
have suggested that it be made full
time. "The fraternities and sororities
would like it to be full time, and the
University recognizes that need,"
If the position of Greek adviser is
made full time, fraternities and sorori
ties may be forced to help pay for the
increased costs. "I think that's a ques
tion that the fraternities and sororities
own opinion," Copman said. "Therq
were differences of opinion on th
coaching staff. Most people have art
opinion on this type of issue."
"I think one thing that developed ou
of this issue was more student interes
in the First Amendment. There has beerf
a lot of open discussion in our socia
studies classes about the issue."
As a compromise, a pre-eame un
guided moment of silence now pre-i
cedes the national anthem, Singletary
The moment of silence was observed!
for the first time this season last Friday!
night when Thomasville lost to Monroe!
in the state AA playoffs.
The moment-of-silence policy i
expected to be continued next season
Robert Byrd, professor in the UNCI
School of Law, said Tuesday's verdict!
should not set much of a precedent fori
future cases or affect restaurant and bar!
owners' insurance rates.
"Logically, one case doesn't usually I
affect rates and all that, but it may
heighten bar owners' awareness of thel
cautions of serving drunk customers.
from page 1
should consider," Schroeder said.
Hogan said he felt fraternities and
sororities would probably financially
support the full-time position if they
felt it would benefit them. "If this per-1
son could really help us we wouldn't !
mind the money."
Hardin said that overall the meeting
was very productive. "There was a lot
of progress being made already, but I
feel that the communications are su
perb right now."
from page 1
done in the next two years. A new
mayor would inherit some real prob
lems, he said, such as the rapid decrease
in the tax reserves, which is not being
Kinnaird said she was exhausted from
the last campaign and said she did not
want to think about running again yet,
but she added, "I might consider it.