Concord bans mom from praying at steps of school each morning
- Are Concord school officials right to ban a parent from praying outside high school each morning?
- Total Votes: 466
Urena, an anti-school-bullying activist, began arriving before school and praying after hearing reports that bullets had been found in a school washroom in February.
"We sent an open records request to the school district, asking them for copies of any meeting minutes or any sort of documents which gave this woman permission to pray on school property," said Rebecca Markert, a Freedom From Religion Foundation staff attorney.
"There is no document giving Ms. Urena permission to pray on school property," wrote Rath.
Upon hearing that the schools had not given the woman permission to pray at the school, the foundation argued that the issue was its failure to stop her.
A lawyer for a group that defends religious speech says if the school district didn't initially object to Urena speaking at the Concord High front door, and later responded to the content of her speech, then it has engaged in illegal viewpoint discrimination.
"To be fair to all the kids in the school, it is probably best for the principal to say that she shouldn't be speaking out like this and proselytizing on school grounds," Ardinger said. "The best mode of action was to tell her to cool it."
School Board member Clint Cogswell said shutting off the prayers at the school door isn't a restriction on religious rights.
"We had, at one time, a group that came in the morning, and they'd have a prayer meeting and hold hands in a circle and nobody had a problem with that," Cogswell said. "I think if someone went on the steps and started reading the Gettysburg Address, we'd have to weigh the disruption it might cause."
Sharp of the pro-prayer Alliance Defending Freedom says the group hasn't decided whether to take up Urena's cause.
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