Kurt Browning, Superintendent of Pasco County Schools, is dealing with some backlash this week over a memo he sent to district employees about prayer in schools. "It's been a very emotional week for me both personally and professionally," Browning said.
Browning sent the memo after hearing some coaches were leading their athletes in prayer before games. In the memo he states: "We have an obligation to adhere to laws that prohibit teachers, school administrators, and other school employees, while acting in their official capacity, from encouraging or discouraging prayer."
"As public employees we have certain restrictions or guidelines that we have to follow," Browning said.
The law regarding school prayer does not prohibit students from praying and it also doesn't prohibit school employees from praying with students. It's when school employees decide to lead a prayer or organize a prayer that they find themselves in trouble. That's the whole reason Browning said he decided to send out the memo, to serve as a reminder of that.
"I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and of the state of Florida and the laws of the United States and the state of Florida," Browning said.
Browning prides himself on being a man of faith, and says that's the reason he got upset when some on Facebook starting questioning his faith. "I am not in any way, shape or form limiting their exercise of faith. I encourage it," Browning said. "I pray for everyone of our kids in this district each and every day."
Since responding to the Facebook post he says he's received a lot of support and says he'll continue upholding the law regarding prayers in school.
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