Disciplined for offering prayer?
As Christians, often the greatest gift we can give another person is our prayers. After all, what could be more helpful than lifting the needs of another person up to our all-powerful, all-mighty God?
Toni Richardson, an educational technician who works with special needs students in Cony High School in Augusta, Maine faced disciplinary action from the school for telling a coworker that she would pray for him! They ordered that she never make any “faith-based” statements at school, even in private. Fortunately, in May the First Liberty Institute and the Maine law firm Eaton Peabody filed a complaint of religious discrimination and retaliation against the school district with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Due to this action, the school board is now backing down.
Let’s keep the pressure on the school board by telling them that we are aware of what went on and we are grateful that they decided to do the right thing –even if it took legal pressure to compel them to do so. Please sign this petition to the school board affirming their decision and telling them we will be watching to see how they treat future employees.
Here’s more background on what happened. Richardson was talking to her coworker about a difficult situation he was going through. Like any of other Christian would be, Richardson was moved by his situation and in compassion told him, “I will pray for you.” A sentence that was intended to demonstrate compassion and care landed Richardson in deep trouble with the Augusta School Board.
First Liberty Institute's Jeremy Dys, who filed the complaint on Toni's behalf, explained it had been Richardson since then. "This entire year Toni has had to self-censor herself, making sure she's not using religious language. ...She's even had to refrain from wearing jewelry that has a cross on it, because if someone were to overhear this private conversation or see that religious imagery round her neck, then she could face discipline or even be terminated."
This was obvious blatant religious discrimination. Finally, the school board has backed down and allowed Richardson to make faith-based statements without fear of termination. While this is the right action, it is incredible that this situation took place at all. We need start joining forcing and standing together in order to protect our rights! There are many Christians in Maine. We should show our state that we are here, we are strong, and we will not be silent.
Please sign this petition to the Augusta School Board thanking them for doing the right thing in backing down against Toni Richardson and let them know we will continue to keep watching.
Sign this petition now!