Texas School Receives Complaint Over Prayer at Preschool Graduation
A school in Beaumont, Texas, received a complaint from the Freedom of Religion Foundation after a preschool teacher allegedly held prayer during a preschool graduation.
The group, based in Wisconsin, sent a two-page letter to the Beaumont Independent School District after parent, Amber Barnhill, reported a teacher at Amelia Elementary school held prayer during a graduation ceremony. The teacher instructed a student leading the prayer to end with, “In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Barnhill, a self-indentified Christian, said she spoke to the teacher, who was not receptive to her comments.
“She said it was legal, that it was freedom of speech,” Barnhill told 12News. “She said it wasn’t her religion; it was her way of life. And she continually said that she could not allow herself to apologize.”
The teacher told 12News that she apologized to Barnhill, but that no one else was offended by the prayer. She said she will not use prayer at programs in the future.
"The little girl said something like, ‘Thank you God for this day. Bless us all. In Jesus’ name, Amen,” the unidentified teacher said. “I didn't intend to impose, I just tried to mock a graduation. I did apologize to the lady who was the only one I found who was offended.”
The group calls the incident “a serious violation of the First Amendment.”
A spokesperson said the school district will investigate the claim before responding to the letter.
“I expect acknowledgement and accountability,” Barnhill said.