Superintendent apologizes after student prayer group halted by principal

Superintendent apologizes after student prayer group halted by principal

AMELIA, VA (WWBT) - Parents are outraged after a situation involving a group of students praying at school on Thursday.

Amelia County Public Schools says it was all a "misunderstanding and miscommunication." Superintendent Dr. Jack McKinley acknowledges to NBC12 that the four-year principal of the school stopped a group prayer that students began in the hallway, in between classes.

"Moving forward together" - that's the message on the marquee at Amelia County High School, just one day after a group of eight or nine students were threatened with suspension for praying during passing period.

"There's been a lot of hatred and aggression in our schools," said Matthew Dunn. He organized the prayer.

Dunn says the purpose of the prayer was not to make a statement.

"It was to bring people together. And I think around the holidays, that is something that's extremely needed," Dunn said.

After the incident, Danielle Hall Anderson took to social media to say her "son took his time with others today to pray in between classes and is now being punished because he did that."

However, McKinley says no students were disciplined.

"We do recognize that the situation could have been handled better and we are committed to learning from this incident and moving forward as a stronger school community," said McKinley in a letter to parents.

During the day Friday, parents also called on people to go to the school to show support of the students.

"Demand the immediate resignation or termination of the high school principal for violating the constitutional rights of several students," Eric Weyant posted to NBC12 reporter pages.

The post said the school violated the students rights, including freedom of religion and speech.

"The school administration apologized to the affected students and parents for the manner in which the situation had been handled," said McKinley.

LETTER FROM SUPERINTENDENT TO PARENTS: 

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