MAN, W.Va. – Man High School student Ben May wants to start a Christian revival at his school, but at least one teacher attempted to shut him down.
The teen recently began preaching about his Christian faith to his classmates during his lunch hour, and the discussions have convinced 16 students to follow God, May told WSAZ.
But a teacher at his school apparently didn’t like the lunchtime sermons and decided to interrupt the student prayer circle Tuesday, prompting students to vent their frustration over social media.
“A teacher walked up and told us we couldn’t do that at school because it was against the Constitution and that apparently we were offending people,” student Skyler Moore said.
Moore was recording May’s sermon and had just stopped the video to pray when the teacher butted in, he said.
“We told her we had a right to pray and that they couldn’t stop us,” he said.
Logan County Schools Superintendent Phyllis Doty denied that the teacher, who was not identified, told students to stop praying, but may have told them they needed to change locations. Students, meanwhile, insist the teacher told them to stop.
Doty confirmed that students have the First Amendment right to assemble and pray at school, and told WSAZ she made sure teachers and school staff are aware of their rights. Doty also said the teacher was wrong if she asked students to move.
May told the news site he spoke with the principal and cleared up the issue. He led a prayer Wednesday with no problems.
“God says don’t look at the past. Look to the future, and that’s what I’m doing,” he said.
The incident is one of several recent example of school employees across the United States working to shut down student led prayer in school.
Parents in Middleton, Wisconsin are being threatened by school officials to stop hosting “Jesus Lunches” for student at an off campus park during lunch time, EAGnews reports.
The Middleton school district sent a letter home to parents complaining about the wildly popular lunches, citing food safety issues and adult volunteer requirements for objecting to the event, which offers students free food if they come to discuss Jesus.
Parents are now shelling out $2,500 to feed up to 500 students who now participate, using money donated by local churches and food donated by area Christian businesses, and have no plans of halting their outreach, regardless of the district’s position.
AllGodsPeople.com featured the Middeton program in February and explained how it evolved from two students eating and talking about faith with their mothers at lunch into the huge weekly event. “In the spring of 2014 … 10 students invited their friends to a free lunch and a brief spiritual talk in the open air pavilion across from the High School. The group meets for eight weeks in the Fall, and eight weeks in the Spring. The first week 40 students showed up, then 70, the next week, 100 students came. The five moms make all the meals, set the tables, arrange for the speakers and clean up, every week,” the site reports.
“Last fall the word had spread (pun intended) and the first week 200 kids showed up, then 300, then 400-450 every week! That represents 25% of the Middleton High School student body, meeting every week for a free hot lunch and listening to a Christian message.”