Ohio Superintendent Halts Principal/ Teacher Prayer Chain for Sick and Abused

Help Keyboard pdMEDINA, Ohio — The superintendent of a school district in Ohio has put an end to a prayer chain that had been running between a local principal and teachers at his school, which served as a means to support the sick and abused.

“I’m a man of faith who wants good for all, but I’m also a firm believer in separation of church and state,” Medina Schools Superintendent Dave Knight told The Plain Dealer.

Principal Chad Wise of A.I. Root Middle School had posted a note in the staff newsletter recently that invited those interested to join the prayer chain. According to reports, members of the community were dealing with a number of difficulties, and the prayer chain was initiated to lift up those who were facing illnesses or death in their families, and to pray for children who were in the midst of neglect and abuse cases.

But someone complained to Superintendent Knight about the matter, who in turn contacted Wise and instructed him not to conduct the chain during school hours or with school computers.

“Public school staff can’t use district resources, including email, to promote prayer, especially when the principal, a person in a position of influence, is involved,” Knight told reporters. “When it comes to separation of church and state, it’s very clear.”

He advised Wise that it was permissible to send one email that requested “to keep a family in your thoughts and prayers,” but said that a prayer chain was taking the outreach too far.

“People caring for others is fine and we don’t want to lose that, but no one should feel guilty or unwelcome over who is or isn’t participating in a prayer group,” Knight said. “No one should be telling anyone else how to believe using district resources or on the clock, especially a person in a position of influence.”

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Wise states that he will comply with Knight’s instruction, but will continue the prayer chain in his own private time.

“Our intention was never to offend anyone on the staff,” he told FOX 8 Cleveland. “That’s the last thing, certainly, that we would want to do. But we wanted to provide that opportunity for staff members who wanted to support one another.”

“We will move this to outside email and communicate privately with people who want to be involved,” Wise added.

But some residents opine that they don’t see anything wrong with teachers and other staff members sharing prayer requests while school is in session, since the prayer chain is voluntary and only for those who wish to receive the communication.

“My thought was, if you don’t want to participate, that’s fine,” said resident Nancy Finley. “But I see absolutely no harm in doing the prayer chain. I think it personally is a wonderful thing.”

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  • Nedd Kareiva

    Maybe this “all-wise” superintendent could point out where this “separation of church & state” exists in the Constiitution. Perhaps he’s spent too much time listening to the ACLU & FFRF. 1st Amendment “Congress shall NO law” does not mean public officials and gov’t workers have to check their faith at the door. The ACLU & FFRF want us to believe such is the case. It’s totally baseless. Let these folks pray. Amen!

    • Brian Westley

      He would point you to many court opinions. And they CAN pray, they just can’t use school email. They can use their personal email.

      • Nedd Kareiva

        True, he could but there are others (one from the 6th Circuit a few years ago involving the ACLJ & the ACLU in a 10 Commandments case comes to mind), albeit not many, have been issued otherwise. Regardless, looks like the Supreme Court will eventually have to weigh in on this issue again. Bottom line, the phrase does not exist in our beloved document and hopefully the high court will ultimately fix past errors.

        • Brian Westley

          Bottom line, the phrase does not exist in our beloved document

          Nobody in any court has argued that the exact phrase “separation of church and state” is in the constitution — it isn’t, just like “separation of powers” and “right to a fair trial” don’t appear literally in the constitution, either. Saying it doesn’t appear literally is pointless in a legal argument; everyone trained in law KNOWS that.

          • alnga

            So then it becomes a judgement call as to what is legal and what is not concerning this separation clause that never existed except in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association by Thomas Jefferson. This will be fun to watch. I give the edge to God’s call to prayer.

          • Brian Westley

            Are you going to finance a lawsuit? It doesn’t sound like it. With no lawsuit, there won’t be any legal decision made.

      • alnga

        This is where a little judgement is used and making direct contact with those that participate in the prayer chain… no written record just praying for whomever on a personal list in pocket or purse. By all means start with the superintendent.get his name all over it.

      • jmichael39

        How sad that without a single state voting to ratify the constitution, our courts, packed with liberals by FDR, decided that THEY could change the meaning of the Constitution in contrast to what the courts had said for 170 years prior and despite the variety writings from the framers themselves. But oh well, that’s how liberals want to view the constitution…I guess there’s nothing we do about it.

        • Brian Westley

          You haven’t read what Madison (the “father of the constitution”) wrote, have you? Particularly what he said about the first amendment and keeping the government out of religion.

          • jmichael39

            and exactly what does keeping the government out of religion have to do with keeping religion out of government? Hmmm?

          • Brian Westley

            They are two sides of the same coin.

  • octobermoon

    And we wonder why our country is falling apart!

    • jmichael39

      I don’t wonder why…I know why.

  • Geeky Grandma

    If the prayer chain is now on private and not school email, it is no longer his concern!

  • Freedom Fighter

    Perfect decision. School time and resources should not be used to promote any religion in any way. You want to do it on your own time using your own resources? No problem.