Kindergartner Praying Controversy: Potential Hoax?

    April 1, 2014
    Toni Matthews-El
    Comments are off for this post.

Outrage is swirling around the story emerging from Oviedo, Florida involving a five-year-old girl who was allegedly interrupted during her lunchtime prayer.

According to a story told to the Orlando Sentinel, a kindergartner was preparing to pray over her meal when a ‘lunch teacher’ at Carillon Elementary stopped her.

“My lunch teacher told me that, when I was about to say something…you’re not allowed to pray.”

The child said that she responded, “It’s good to pray.”

The teacher apparently countered that prayer is “not good”.

The young girl was instructed to share her story in a video recorded by her father, Marcos Perez. Perez’s video has garnered thousands of views and made local and national news.

A mean godless educator bullying a poor child just trying to say grace over lunch?

While the event is most certainly plausible, early investigation is raising a few red flags.

First, there is the fact that Seminole County Public School officials report that cafeteria workers have no knowledge of the incident or of interacting with Perez’s daughter on March 10th, the date the family claimed the incident took place.

Second, Marcos Perez is the vice president of sales at Charisma House, a Lake Mary-based Christian book publisher.

“God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values” is a book currently being promoted by Perez’s company.

It was written by Fox News host Todd Starnes, who reported on the incident for Fox News Radio.

The coincidence and timing is enough to have some people declaring this entire thing a publicity stunt and hoax.

It is terrible to think that a father might not be above coaching his daughter through a blatant lie “for a good Christian cause”. Nevermind slandering innocent school officials in the process and opening himself up to a defamation lawsuit.

Still, it wouldn’t be the first time a father has gotten his children to lie for purely selfish reasons.

The balloon boy hoax that happened three years ago involved a father who coached his child into lying in order to potentially get a television deal. Something the child unwittingly admitted to on CNN.

Given how visibly upset that young boy was when forced to play a role in the hoax (he would vomit whenever the matter was brought up in interviews), it’s something Perez needs to consider if he’s electing to put the same emotional strain on his daughter for profit and not because this actually happened.

If an incident did occur, hopefully further investigation will uncover the truth and reveal which teacher is responsible.

Given the viral nature of this story and the strong reaction, an update is inevitable.

Until such time, it’s best to wait for all the facts before jumping to any definite conclusion in this matter. Or adults once again using partisan talking points to beat home their own one-sided point of view while forgetting something very important.

A little girl was either told that she couldn’t exercise her religious beliefs or was coached to lie for profit and slander.

Either potential outcome is both sad and disturbing, and indicative of adults setting terrible examples for young and impressionable children.

Image via Youtube

  • Larry Ballard

    Of course it’s a hoax when it doesn’t square with your libtard belief system. Teachers have no recollection of it? Imagine that.

    • Ringthane

      You, on the other hand, immediately believe it because it fits YOUR personal beliefs. How about we let the investigation come up with a result before we call truth or hoax on it?

      • Tell Me

        So where do YOU stand, then, since you seem to be siding with the article?

        • Ringthane

          I’m not siding with either party in this. Letting the investigation go until we have more evidence is the only way to know anything about the truth or hoax of it. My first impression is that it could either be a single idiot teacher being a mini Napoleon or it could be a parent with a vested financial interest in manufacturing some outrage to drive book sales. I’ve seen both happen in the real world and so have you.

    • billy bob

      Imagine school teachers getting together and plotting to make this little girl a target and scareing all the little one ‘s to death if they say anything about the incedent.My hats off to the parents for teaching vaues to their daughter

  • Ben Sturgill

    You say to wait for the facts, and yet your entire article is to discredit the child and her parents. You put forth that this very well may be a hoax, without any proof of it being so.

    • Tell Me

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Mike

      The “proof” is that no one in the cafeteria remembered talking to her or saying anything like this to her. It’s the same amount of “proof” everyone has–the word of people they don’t know. Since nearly all of these recent “I’ve been grossly discriminated against” viral videos have been hoaxes to get money from sympathetic people (like the lesbian waitress and african american waitress who called themselves names and collected donations), it is hardly wrong to tell people now, before they donate money, that initial investigations are not turning up any evidence.

      • Darby

        Yep. It would take two seconds for the student to point out who exactly told her to stop.

  • giturfaxstr8b4utalk

    Looks like we might never know the truth, because it’s her word against the teacher’s. And it appears that both sides have a strong motive to lie about the facts of the event. Just watching the video carefully, it seems like the little girl is mostly telling the truth, but it disturbs me that she said “they ‘caught’ me AGAIN”…like this particular incident isn’t unusual, as far as the teachers maybe watching her closely to prevent it from happening “again”? What if the parents/father are pushing her (not just encouraging her) to pray openly and regularly in school, hoping that something will happen so that they can take legal action? (which is a disturbing thought in itself). Wishing I had more prophetic insight, but on this one….I’m still on the fence, and doubt seriously that any real proof in either direction will show up and validate the truth. 51% on the side of the little girl telling most of the truth, 49% wondering if there is a motive on dad’s part…

    • Tell Me

      I figure, ride it out and see where it ends. But I can’t help but think the girl is speaking the truth because she’s innocent and because (sadly) of the way society seems to be going these days

  • Jon Carver

    Ok, this started out over one issue and then morphed into another controversy. Given that I, for one, don’t care who is lying or who is telling the truth because I don’t know these people and will probably never meet them or hear of them again, I will stick with the original issue of religious tolerance and say it is not wrong to pray anytime and anywhere, and no one has the right to tell another otherwise.

    • Tell Me

      Good post.

  • sam

    You can tell it was truthful, the mom didn’t even know that she was praying in school.

  • Dawn Robinson Shepard

    The father absolutely has a vested interest in this. why have they not asked the little girl to point out who said that? It’s not the first time parents have coached their child to lie.

  • Jack

    So this girl is supposedly told not to pray by an unknown teacher (or an unknown lunch lady, they can’t seem to decide) and her parents take to YouTube before calling the school. Starnes publicizes the story as part of his usual lineup of persecution fantasies without mentioning that the girl’s father is publishing and actively promoting his book. Quite a coincidence, isn’t it?