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Teacher's mandated school prayer draws protest

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The Beaumont Independent School District has confirmed it has received a complaint letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation. That is the same Wisconsin-based organization that made a complaint against the religious-themed banners created by the Kountze High School Cheerleaders last year.

The complaint against BISD alleges illegal prayer in a pre-school classroom.  It was filed by parent Amber Barnhill and claims an Amelia Elementary teacher started a preschool graduation ceremony with a prayer and told the student leading it to say "In Jesus' name, Amen.'

Barnhill was in the classroom the morning of May 31 when it is said to have happened. She identifies herself as a Christian, but Barnhill says prayer has no place in a public school. 

Barnhill says she spoke with the teacher and was not as offended by the prayer.  She says she was offended by the teachers response. 

"She said it was legal, freedom of speech. Not religion but her way of life. She said she could not allow herself to apologize," Barnhill said. 

12News spoke with the teacher involved, who said she did apologize.  The teacher admits to making a small prayer for the student to say but says she was just trying to give her students a mock graduation. 

"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," She told 12News. 

The district say it will respond to the case following a thorough investigation. The teacher tells 12News she will not include prayers in any future programs.

 

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