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Alabama Teacher Reprimanded for Wearing “Just Pray” T-Shirt

Chris Burrell is a school teacher at Pearl Haskew Elementary School in Irvington, Alabama. On the morning of April 23, 2018, Burrell decided to casually dress in a t-shirt for work because her kids would be testing. The teacher’s wardrobe selection contained the phase “just pray” on it.

To her surprise, the principal at her place of employment wasn’t happy to see her wearing the shirt. In fact, because of those two words many Christians find encouraging, Burrell’s boss asked her to change clothes.

In a Facebook post that has been deleted, Burrell wrote, “Getting sent home from work today to change my Just Pray shirt. I purchased this shirt to raise money for #AubreighsArmy. I thought it was fitting to wear today since my kids were testing.”

The confused educator went on to state, “I didn’t think twice about it. I wasn’t trying to promote religion, it was just my Monday feel good shirt. In my 15 years of teaching this has never been an issue. My heart hurts.” According to The Blaze, Burrell’s message was shared more than 800 times before it was removed. Numerous people posted comments defending the teacher’ decision to wear the shirt to school.

Aubreigh Army is a Facebook page created to support 11-year-old Aubreigh Nicholas. Nicholas, a child dancer raised in Semmes, Alabama, discovered she had an unusual and inoperable brain tumor in 2017. The condition Nichols suffers from is known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, DIPG. The Facebook page strives to circulate community challenges and increase awareness about this serious medical issue.

Fox10 News interviewed Mobile County Public Schools Superintendent Martha Peek regarding the bizarre incident involving Burrell. Concerning the principal’s decision to reprimand Burrell, Peek said, “So at the point of looking and seeing ‘pray’ on it, the principal said, can you put on a sweater or something, knowing that there are other people who object to that…we have to be cognizant of everyone’s beliefs or everyone’s thoughts in a public school.”

The Mobile County Public Schools Superintendent insisted to Fox10 News that the principal was merely abiding by the rules, which state that both educators and students aren’t allowed to wear clothes that reflect a particular belief. The media outlet was informed the principal was unaware the t-shirt was a sign of support for Aubreigh’s Army when Burrell wore it to school. Peek said, “We’re totally supporting her, I think that this was just an unfortunate connection there, but still the principal would have had to exercise her judgment.”

In addition to the Facebook page, supporters of young Nicholas have created a YouCarin donation page for her. As of May 3, 2018, donations were close to the $50,000 goal. Describing the vibrant girl, the page says, “One in a million? That’s our girl. A love for dance, a heart for service, beauty inside and out? We got that! An appetite for love, life, family and friends defines our favorite fifth grader.”

The page goes on to state, “To make sure she and her mom and dad have every resource they need to put the boxing gloves on and fight this, we are enlisting your help. Give for the child you know battling this crazy disease, for the friend you have battling another cancer, or give in thanks for your personal health. Whatever the reason, join this ARMY!”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forces employers such as schools to judiciously accommodate the religious practices of a worker, except in cases where compliance would place an undue burden on the employer. However, public educational institutions must also comply with the United States Constitution’s Establishment Clause. This mandate prohibits employees from promoting a specific belief system in the presence of their students.

In recent years, atheists and other left-leaning individuals have zealously cited the Establishment Clause in their attempt to remove any hint of Christianity from the American public school system and the country in general.

~ 1776 Christian

 

 

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