The parents of an Oviedo kindergartner, called Gabriella, insist that their daughter was told to stop praying by a lunch teacher, but the Seminole County Public Schools officials say there is no record of the incident.
Marcos Perez, the girl’s father, posted a video on YouTube last week where his daughter said to him that she was told “not to pray.” Gabriella said she bowed down her head to pray when the teacher said, “You’re not allowed to do that,” according to the i4U News report on April 2.
Gabriella became confused and replied, “But it’s good to pray,” she continued speaking and said that the teacher responded, “It’s not good.”
Gabriella’s mother, Kathy Perez, said: “She wanted to pray, but she’s a rule-follower. I told her she did the right thing. I don’t doubt for a minute that my daughter is telling the truth.”
The incident took place sometime during the week of March 10, but when Analynn Jones, the principal of the school, asked staff members who were in the cafeteria at the time, no one recalled those words being said.
The principal of the school wanted to make it clear that there is ‘no policy in place to stop kindergartners from praying,’ and district spokesman, Michael Lawrence, told the Orlando Sentinel, “We don’t have a policy against student prayer at all.”
Gabriella’s family have hired Jeremiah Dys as their attorney, and plan on suing the school. Dy’s, a Liberty Institute lawyer, said in a statement, “The principal has pretty much dismissed this. Saying a 5-year-old cannot pray over her chicken nuggets and mac-and-cheese isn’t in line with the Constitution.”
Gabriella’s parents have removed their daughter from school the day after the YouTube video was posted and plan on homeschooling her.
What are your thoughts on children saying a personal prayer while at school?