Kindergartner Praying at Lunch Says Teacher Told Her It Isn’t Allowed — But I Smell a Rat

I’m all for the separation of church and state but also firmly believe that anyone who takes a notion to pray ought to be able to do so whenever and wherever they want. Unless it involves kneeling in the middle of the security line at the airport or whatever — then get moving! But praying before a meal? Go on with your bad self.

According to Yahoo, some Florida parents are hopping mad after hearing their 5-year-old daughter’s account of her teacher telling her she’s not allowed to pray.

The kindergartner told her family that a “lunch teacher” at Carillon Elementary School stopped her when she put her hands together and bowed her head right before lunch. So Marcos Perez did what most parents do and posted a YouTube video of his daughter explaining the whole story while being heavily coached by him and his wife. It wasn’t until after he posted the video with the following caption (including an email for media inquiries) that he contacted the school.

My wife and I were shocked when our 5-year-old daughter began to tell us that someone on staff at her school saw her praying — told her to stop — and said “it is not good.” This is Kindergarten. She was praying to herself for her food, following the biblical values we are working hard to instill in our children. We are so proud of our little princess and as you can see — we continue to affirm her that prayer IS GOOD and that NO ONE can tell her she can’t pray. No doubt we will homeschool going forward.

We live in the United States of America — the land of the free, yet our traditional values and religious freedoms are under assault. This is just a small example.

Disclaimer: Sorry about the background noise! Our son was practicing drums in his room and we were not planning on this video! Which … also explains her messy hair before heading to bed.

Clever, that last paragraph, no? We weren’t planning on this video because drums! And messy hair! But also, here is our email for all media inquiries!

Although the family says the incident happened March 10, Carillon Elementary’s principal, AnaLynn Jones, says she talked to everyone working in the cafeteria that day and nobody recalls the incident.

Michael Lawrence, communications officer for Seminole County Schools tells WKMG Local 6, “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.”

Mr. Perez says that’s not true, that he sent the school district several emails before his YouTube video post. Still, it’s worth pointing out that, as noted by the Orlando Sentinel, Marcos Perez is “…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 little girl in question no longer attends Carillon Elementary and will instead be homeschooled. The family’s lawyer has sent a letter to the school board and the principal demanding an apology by April 7. For her part, the principal says she’ll remind staff that students are allowed to pray and there is no policy preventing anyone from praying to themselves.

Not surprisingly, several of the commenters on the Yahoo article are skeptical the little girl is telling the correct story. One says her daughter told her she got in trouble for praying but when she went to school to talk the teacher about it she was told her daughter was trying to make others pray, and the teacher told her the other kids didn’t have to pray if they didn’t want to. Another commenter mentions that most teachers know a kid can pray at lunch if he or she wants to and suspects the parents of having an agenda. In fact, many commenters disagree with the parents’ choice to put the video on YouTube and think they’re coaching the little girl to publicize their business.

What do you think? Is the little girl legit or being coached? In other words, are you buying what Marco Perez is selling — literally?

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