The controversy surrounding whether or not an Carillon Elementary teacher stopped a five-year-old from praying is now the subject of a lawsuit.
It’s a turn of events that isn’t too surprising given what’s at the heart of the matter.
Marcos and Kathy Perez of Oviedo, Flordia are claiming that their young daughter Gabriella was getting ready to say grace when a teacher approached her. She was apparently instructed not to pray and told that prayer is “not good”.
The event was alleged to have occurred on or around March 10th. A video was uploaded to Youtube on March 25th which details what Gabriella’s parents have said is her version of events.
Prior to the video being uploaded, Marcos Perez said that he had emailed Carillon Elementary Principal Analynn Jones to complain about what had happened.
Officials launched an investigation in the wake of the controversy and they say that none of the teachers or cafeteria workers recall the incident.
Perez isn’t surprised by the continued denials because as he puts it, he “didn’t expect anyone to step forward and take blame.”
The family is being represented by the Texas-based Liberty Institute law firm.
Lawyer Jeremiah Dys accused the principal at Carillon Elementary of “pretty much dismiss[ing] this”.
The parents are suing in order to get an apology to their child and a more serious investigation of the matter by Carillion Elementary. They also desire the adult responsible to no longer be a teacher at the school.
Perez and his wife have admitted that they will likely home-school their daughter.
There is another aspect of the suit that is somewhat to blame for lingering doubt as to the authenticity of the claims being made.
Perez decided to post the video about the event because he “felt like this is a story that’s important and people needed to hear.” It’s also suggested that the suit is meant to shed light on an anti-prayer and anti-Christian agenda allegedly found in America’s schools.
It’s almost as if the entire situation could be taken from the pages of God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values. The book is being promoted by the company Perez works for and was written by Fox News host Todd Starnes.
It was Starnes who helped the story gain national attention by covering the it on Fox News Radio. Perez was even interviewed about the matter.
Perez said he did the interview because he is “passionate about the cause.”
The promotion of an alleged anti-Christian agenda in schools or demanding justice for his wronged daughter: Which is the “cause” in question?
According to Perez, he is fighting for his daughter’s First Amendment rights. He also resents any insinuation of an ongoing publicity stunt.
“I’m a father first, a VP of sales second.”
The school maintains that they’ve never denied children the ability to pray and that this has since been emphasized as the story has garnered considerable attention.
Image via YouTube