Kindergartner Told Not to Pray

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Kindergartner praying at lunch says teacher told her, ‘You’re not allowed to pray’
By Charlene Sakoda
Apr 1, 2014 5:42 PM
Odd News
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An Oviedo, Florida family was shocked after they heard their 5-year-old daughter’s account of an incident at the girl’s school during lunch. As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the kindergartener (whose name is not being released) told her family that a ‘lunch teacher’ at Carillon Elementary School stopped her when she bowed her head in prayer during the meal.

Marcos Perez’s daughter explaining the lunch prayer incident. (YouTube/Marcos Perez)
Last week Marcos Perez, the girl’s father, posted a YouTube video of his daughter explaining the lunchtime interaction. In the footage she recounts the confrontation saying, “My lunch teacher told me that, when I was about to say something, she said, ‘You’re not allowed to pray.’” According to her account the girl continued the conversation with the teacher saying, “’It’s good to pray.’ And she just said, ‘It’s not good.’”

The family says the exchange happened the week of March 10. However, Seminole County Public School officials report that Carillon Elementary’s principal, AnaLynn Jones, spoke to the cafeteria staff present during that time and they do not recall the incident nor interacting with the girl.

WKMG Local 6 spoke to Michael Lawrence, the communications officer for Seminole County Schools who said, “The situation as stated by the parent has not occurred according to the school’s investigation…We’re dealing with very young children here so there’s quite a bit of an opportunity for miscommunication to occur. The timing and the issues were very odd considering that the first thing that happened was that a video was done, it was on YouTube.” The school district says the parents did not contact school officials until after posting the YouTube video, but Mr. Perez denied that claim and said he sent the district several emails before his post.

A coincidence that is too striking to ignore was pointed out by the Orlando Sentinel. The paper wrote that Marcos Perez is the “…vice president of sales at Charisma House, a Lake Mary-based Christian book publisher. The company is currently promoting the book ‘God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values,’ by Fox News host Todd Starnes. Starnes reported on the lunch prayer controversy for Fox News Radio.”

The school did not interview the young student, who has since been pulled out of Carillon Elementary and will instead be home schooled. Both Lawrence and the family’s lawyer, Jeremiah Dys, senior counsel for the Texas based Liberty Institute, say that the identity of the staff member allegedly involved has not been given.

Dys has sent the school board and the Carillon principal a letter demanding an apology to the family by April 7 and assurances that steps will be taken to avoid a similar incident in the future.

Lawrence said that Principal Jones would remind Carillon Elementary staff that students are allowed to pray in school, adding, “If a student wishes to pray at lunch to herself we do not have a policy against that.”

Videos and more info: Orlando Sentinel, WKMG, YouTube/Marcos Perez

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0 responses to “Kindergartner Told Not to Pray

  1. Reblogged this on CrashCourse.

  2. I have no trouble imagining a young brainwashed twit of a teacher saying that to a little kid, knowing that little kids will easily submit to the Big People.

    Also, I doubt an attorney would make demands if they didn’t know for sure who the teacher was. Re: “…but Mr. Perez denied that claim and said he sent the district several emails before his post” – It would be easy enough to get copies of those emails from Perez’ ISP.

    And Grrrr on this statement by the school: “We’re dealing with very young children here so there’s quite a bit of an opportunity for miscommunication to occur…” — Pfff! Little kids are more honest than a thousand adults combined!

  3. Kids this young don’t know how to “lie” @ things like “it’s bad to pray,” esp. @ something they’ve been taught to do at meal times as a matter of home instruction. OTOH….teachers don’t know how to react to to religious expression these days….they are afraid if they DO NOT react negatively that they will be reprimanded/written up…or if they DON’T react at all (which means a “positive”), they will be noted the same……personally, if you are smart enough…you must always remember to “err” on the side of caution …the side that will not harm the child, and will not harm you (as much) either. This could be a “split second” decision…..

    But I constantly WONDER why these teachers are not “deaf” at certain times…….?????? Why do they think they are the “religion police???” There is nothing in a teacher contract that says this! Not anywhere! Why get involved in a private moment at a child’s lunch time??????? THIS IS INTRUSIVE!!!! Personally, I learned a long time ago that I need to be “deaf, dumb, and blind” at certain times in my career….to allow life to unfold charitably. THIS featured story is an example of policing a private moment of taking-in sustenance…eating a meal…and the private rituals involved therein….it could mean…prayer, hand-washing, certain obsessive compulsive positioning of food, utensils, napkin, and so on (PROTECTED EXCLUSIVELY BY A STUDENT’S IEP or 504, if they have one…but if they DON’T….it doesn’t mean they don’t have the same rights of individual educational plan!!!!!!). Though meal times are technically considered “instructional time” per minutes of school per day….these minutes are not under direct instruction….IMO…..they would fall under “guided practice” (if you are going to be technical) and, as such, should not be subject to censure…just as, for instance, reaching the “wrong” answer in math practice is not a sin against the Constitution… is a practice…in the personal way that this child interprets a teaching…nothing more…nothing less….and is NOT open to censure by a teacher or any administration, anywhere.

  4. So what would have happened if she had unrolled a prayer rug and proceeded?

  5. “If a student wishes to pray at lunch to herself we do not have a policy against that.”

    Does deez person sprechen zee engrish? Why on earth would the child be praying to herself? ;p In all seriousness though, the school does not have the right to mandate silent prayer either, the student should be permitted to pray openly, be it a whisper or an acceptable inside-voice level. (Although expecting this from a brainwashing worker drone/soldier ant factory that they dare call a school, is expecting far too much from such. This whole thing just says “homeschool” all over it.)

  6. “If a child wants to pray out loud at lunch or anytime they have the right to do so. Tax payers pay for government run schools and parents need to demand their children follow their rearing rules, not socialist ungodly govenment rules. We see where government run schools have/are leading children and it’s not to Christ!”

  7. I hope the parents are flipping through A-Hole Lawyers Is Us.

    I would be.


  8. Thank you Michael for this incredible post. I believe the little girl is telling the truth. Why would she have a motive to lie about saying a prayer before she eats lunch? She would not understand the issues to warrant making up a lie. The little girl doesn’t have to be silent either. She can recite the prayer verbally and eat her lunch. What amazing _______!

  9. Teacher’s wrong… not “establishing a religion” doesn’t mean suppressing someone’s.


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