*As parents, many of us come together at dinnertime to converse with our family about the events of their day. But when the Perez family in Oviedo, Florida asked their 5-year-old daughter (whose name is being withheld) for her account of the day, they were shocked to learn of an incident that happened to her at school during lunch.
As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the kindergartener told her family that a ‘lunch teacher’ at Carillon Elementary School stopped her when she bowed her head to bless her food before eating.
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.’” When Perez asked his daughter what she said after hearing the teacher, the little girl responded, “I told her it’s good to pray. And she just said, ‘It’s not good.’”
According to the family, the exchange happened the week of March 10. But Seminole County Public School officials report that the principal at Carillon Elementary, 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.
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.”
Thanks to Yahoo News for excerpts in this article.