Alabama Teacher Goes Home to Change After Principal Asks Her to Cover Up ‘Just Pray’ T-Shirt

Photo Credit: WALA screenshot

MOBILE, Ala. — An elementary school teacher in Alabama says that she was sent home last week to change after she arrived in a t-shirt that read “Just Pray,” which she had purchased in support of a young girl with an inoperable brain tumor.

Chris Burrell, a third grade teacher at Pearl Haskew Elementary School in Irvington, says that she wore the shirt on April 23 not thinking that it would pose an issue. She had purchased it last year in a fundraiser for 11-year-old Aubreigh Nicholas, who was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma in September.

“I purchased this shirt to raise money for #AubreighsArmy. I thought it was fitting to wear today since my kids were testing,” she said in a social media post. “I didn’t think twice about it. I wasn’t trying to promote religion; it was just my Monday feel good shirt.”

However, when the principal saw Burrell wearing a shirt with the word “pray” on it, she asked the teacher if she could put a sweater on to cover the wording.

“[T]he principal said, ‘Can you put on a sweater or something,’ knowing that there are other people who object to that,” Mobile County Public School Superintendent Martha Peek told WALA-TV. “We have to be cognizant of everyone’s beliefs or everyone’s thoughts [in a public school].”

She said that the principal was following district policy, which states that teachers should refrain from wearing clothing that promotes any particular religion.

Burrell took to social media over the matter, posting a photo of herself and writing, “Getting sent home from work today to change my Just Pray shirt. … In my 15 years of teaching, this has never been an issue. My heart hurts.”

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The post has now either been deleted or privatized, but hundreds have shown their support for Burrell and/or shared her story.

The teacher will not face any disciplinary action.

“We’re totally supporting [Aubrey],” Peek said, referring to the child whose cancer sparked the shirt fundraiser. “I think that this was just an unfortunate connection there, but still the principal would have had to exercise her judgment.”

As previously reported, in 1828, just 52 years after the nation’s founding, Noah Webster, known as the Father of American Scholarship and Education, wrote, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”

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  • Amos Moses – He>i

    Episcopal Church Removes Terms Husband, Wife and Procreation from Marriage to Make it More LGBT Compliant
    William Nye expressed his distress with the US wing, and stated that “Whilst I have made some overall observations in response to your specific question, the way in which TEC resolves these questions of implementation will have implications in terms of relationship as churches.”

  • White prayer is racist

  • Heidi K.

    GOD bless you, Chris and Aubreigh.

  • dan

    My daughter years ago wore a shirt said John 3 16 hell no heaven yes .School made her turn it inside out .I tried legal action but not even christian lawyers would help

  • Lydia Church

    I would not take it off or turn it inside out.
    Once I put it on, it stays on and if persecution comes as a result, so be it.
    Don’t turn back once you make the commitment and count the cost to be His witness and disciple.
    Remember Matthew 10; 32-33.

    • Lydia Church

      And yes! The world will hate you. But… Jesus already told us that.

  • Samwise

    Public school teachers cannot interfere with the religious rights of students. They cannot promote or discourage religion. Period.

    By her own words, this teacher chose that shirt on a day the students had a test to encourage them to pray. She chose to use her taxpayer paid position and her authority to promote religion. She said so. And that’s illegal.

    I’m confident you don’t want teachers to use their authority to discourage your kids from praying.

    The same rules apply to all teachers. Remain neutral while on the clock. Do not encourage or discourage any religious action or belief.

    • Chet

      And what “religion” was she promoting? Shame on them for sending her home to change, why, she could have very well been actively promoting the sole state sanctioned religion of Mother Earth Worship. And that worship is welcomed everywhere nowadays. How dare they rebuke her. The time is oh so ripe for Christians and believing Jews to Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus Ye Soldiers Of The Cross and dare to be a Daniel…

      • Samwise

        She wore that shirt to encourage students to pray. That is promoting religion. That is illegal.

        By the same token, a teacher could not wear a shirt that says “Don’t pray” because that would be using her authority to discourage religion. Which is also illegal.

        Every student, yours and mine, christian or not, gets to attend public school without school employees trying to influence their religious beliefs.

        • Chet

          Ridiculous analogy for sure. Again, I submit, what “religion” was she promoting. Could indeed be the “religion of atheism which renders one’s self as the supreme authority, or god… We have new authority and support in Washington in case you are unaware. Christians and believing Jews will not be intimidated nor silenced any longer by haters or otherwise. Leftists have had things in accordance with your will for nearly a decade and, actually, much longer ago than that, but, no longer… There is freedom in America and one’s relationship with Holy God Almighty via His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ of Calvary, (Messiah) reigns supreme.

          • Samwise

            The same rules apply to all.

            Teachers cannot promote any religious viewpoint or attempt to lead, sway, encourage, etc. students toward ir away from any religious view or belief.

            This protects your children.

            This protects my children.

            Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Treat people as you would like to be treated.

            You wouldn’t want teachers to discourage your children from their beliefs. My children have the exact same rights.

          • Chet

            Christians and believing Jews care enough about their fellow men to share the good news gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ whenever and however possible. And we are charged with doing so IAW Mark 16 and Matthew 28 of God’s Word, the Holy Bible. We take not our marching orders regarding the lost from other men, sinners in need of salvation just as we once were. Just as someone thought enough of us to do so, we, in-turn, show the same compassion on others, thus, doing unto them such as was mercifully done unto us. Hope this helps understand our mandate. God bless and please know, Jesus saves from the guttermost to the uttermost, no exceptions, no turn-aways, ever… We humans, especially Americans, have the right to receive the word or reject it, which also serves in the manner of differentiating Christians and believing Jews from the teachings of the faith(s) of others…

  • disqus_znTohz52QD

    When will people stop to obey to these devil persons? If it were me I would have responded and yelled NO! and then insult the principal. What these f***ing “principals” think they are?

    • getstryker

      They are, if you were employed by the school district, the folks that can fire you . . . your course of action is –
      childish & uncalled for. There are more productive ways to accomplish positive goals than such silly outbursts.

      • disqus_znTohz52QD

        I don’t care if they would fire me. I prefer to be fired than continue to work with these scoundrels, and I would even go away immediately by myself. I have doing it once a long time ago I never regreted it. In fact since then I never worked again for a boss, and never l will again. What is more precious for me is my TIME, and I will let nobody steal it from me! Let’s these schools implore people like me to work for them and I would say MY conditions and MY price! I remain FREE to wear what t-shirt I like, and even to burn a rainbow flag before them if I want. Halleluya!

        • getstryker

          I merely point out that being fired removes you from the location where you would still exercise influence and be in a position to fight the inequities of the schools decisions. Again, being ‘verbally abusive’ accomplishes nothing accept perhaps to sooth your personal ego. It usually ‘hardens’ the opposition to your position!

  • Keepitreal

    So sad that she caved in. Thank God that Jesus did not cave in when He was targeted by hate.

    • getstryker

      You might consider not being harsh on the teacher . . . for many, persecution such as this begins the road to ‘righteous pushback’ with admin & the school board.

  • peanut butter

    “Just Pray”… not only does that NOT promote any particular religion, it actually does just the opposite. ALL religions pray. This was just somebody trying to go by a book that hadn’t been written. I’d be all up in the Board about this.

  • getstryker

    Ah yes, the mournful cry from the bastion of ‘leftist/liberal’ thought . . .

    “We have to be cognizant of everyone’s beliefs or everyone’s thoughts [in a public school].”

    ‘Everyone’ . . . except Christians! (of course, that doesn’t apply it Islam – just ask the folks in San Diego, Caliphony!)