Outrage! School Stops 5-Year-Old’s Lunchtime Prayer

04 Apr


Liberty Institute confronts school as story goes national.

Liberty Institute took fast action to help the Perez family, when a lunchroom monitor told their 5-year-old daughter it was wrong to bow her head in prayer before she ate.

Tuesday, Liberty Institute attorneys sent a demand letter to school administrators at Carillon Elementary School in Oviedo, Florida, on behalf of Marcos Perez and his daughter. The story has grabbed national headlines and highlighted the fact that students can pray in school.

Liberty Institute Senior Counsel
Jeremy Dys speaks to the press

According to the Perez family, their 5-year-old daughter bowed her head over her food during lunch. A lunchroom monitor instructed her to stop, and when the young girl told the monitor, “But it’s good to pray,” she was told, “It is not good.”

The Perez Family says this incident was the last straw and they have decided to remove their daughter from the public education system.

“Mainly because of this incident, we have exercised our option as parents to teach our daughter at home,” said Marcos Perez. “We live in a very good school district, but we cannot, in good conscience, send our daughter to a school where her religious liberty has been compromised.”

“Of course, students can pray at school!” said Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. “As the Supreme Court held over half a century ago: Students do not ‘shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.’ In addition to violating the First Amendment, the school is in violation of Department of Education guidelines that specifically protect this type of prayer, and thus could jeopardize its federal funding.”

Liberty Institute held a press conference Tuesday where Dys and Perez spoke to numerous reporters about the incident and the importance of protecting students’ religious freedom.

Liberty Institute continues to investigate the situation on behalf of our clients, and will continue to bring attention to this very critical issue.

Situations like this are happening all to frequently. Aggressive anti-faith groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the ACLU have created a culture of fear inside our nation’s schools – to the point that a 5-year-old child is told to stop praying over her school lunch!

School districts across the country are so afraid of potential legal action that they are infringing upon students constitutional rights.

However, Liberty Institute is here to clearly explain what the law actually allows regarding the free exercise of religion.

To continue to help students across the country, we need your support! Please consider a gift today! Each gift is critical and every dollar donated multiplies in value thanks to the world-class attorneys that volunteer their time to the cause of religious freedom.

Also, if you know of any student, teacher or school district facing this type of hostility, please have them contact us at 972-941-4444, or through email

If you have any questions on religious freedom in the school, please take a minute to check out our Student Bill of Rights – FAQ.

About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit

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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Investments


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