Christianity

Story About Girl Not Allowed to Pray Over School Lunch May Be False (Video)

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The parents of a five-year-old girl posted a video on YouTube last week of their daughter recalling, with some coaching from mom and dad, how a "lunchroom teacher" told her not to pray.

According to RightWingWatch.org, the little girl says she told the teacher, "It's good to pray," but claims her teacher replied, "It's not good" (video below).

The incident reportedly happened at the Carillon Elementary School in Oviedo, Fla. The girl says in the video she didn't tell her mother immediately about the incident because she "forgot to."

The girl's video was written about by Fox News reporter Todd Starnes and has generated outrage among Christian conservative groups such as the Family Research Council and the Liberty Institute.

"The school is in violation of Department of Education guidelines that specifically protect this type of prayer, and thus could jeopardize its federal funding," Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys said in a press release today.

"Mainly because of this incident, we have exercised our option as parents to teach our daughter at home," said the girl's father Marcos Perez. "We live in a very good school district, but we cannot, in good conscience, send our daughter to a school where her religious liberty has been compromised."

However, the incident did not happened, says Michael Lawrence, communications officer for Seminole County Schools.

"The situation as stated by the parent has not occurred according to the school's investigation," Lawrence told Local 6. "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."

"If a student wishes to pray at lunch to herself we do not have a policy against that," added Lawrence.

For reasons unknown, the girl's parents have not allowed the school to interview her over the incident.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Marcos Perez is the Vice President of sales at Charisma House, which just happens to be the Christian book publisher of Fox News reporter Todd Starnes' upcoming book, God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.

According to a press release by Charisma House last month, Perez praised Starnes' book:

“We are highly anticipating the release of God Less America,” said Marcos Perez, vice president of sales at Charisma House. “From a sales standpoint, we believe this contest will engage our partnering bookstores and add to the momentum that is already building for this book release.”

The Liberty Counsel told Local 6 they have not investigated the incident independently, but Dys said, "I don't think a 5-year-old girl is going to create or concoct a story like this."

Sources: Charisma House, Orlando Sentinel, Local 6, Family Research Council, Liberty Institute, Fox News, RightWingWatch.org

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