Exercising one's faith or religion is a right. In fact, it is clearly stated in the United States Constitution. So when a father from Florida heard her daughter talk about a teacher at school who discouraged her from praying, he was enraged.
The father is Marcos Perez, a Vice President of Sales at Charisma House, a Christian book publisher. According to Perez, who posted a video of the conversation he had with her 5-year old daughter on YouTube, a lunch teacher reprimanded her child for praying before eating her lunch meal.
The incident happened on March 10 at the Carillon Elementary School.
Kindergartner Gabriella was about to bow down her head to pray when a teacher said, "You're not allowed to do that." The confused girl replied, "But it's good to pray." The teacher sternly responded, "It is not good."
Perez said that her daughter tried to pray again but was warned by the unidentified teacher.
Perez has confronted the principal of the school. “My 5-year old should not feel conflicted about prayer with respect to trying to follow rules or authority,” Perez wrote. “We remain speechless that our daughter had to experience from an individual with an agenda.”
According to Seminole County Public Schools spokesman Michael Lawrence, students do have the right to pray in school. "We don't have a policy against student prayer at all," Lawrence told the Orlando Sentinel.
Meanwhile, the video caught the attention of Texas-based religious law firm Liberty Institute. Liberty Institute is asking for an apology and a clear investigation. "Saying a 5-year-old cannot pray over her chicken nuggets and mac and cheese isn't in line with the Constitution," a Liberty Institute lawyer said.
The Perezes have pulled Gabriella from the school and is now planning to home-school her. The alleged teacher has not been identified.