Maine School Worker Forbidden to Say ‘I Will Pray For You’ on School Property
Augusta, Maine school worker Toni Richardson, photo courtesy of First Liberty Institute.
This article comes from PJ Media
by Tyler O’Neil
A Maine school worker is afraid to express her faith or even to wear religious jewelry, out of concern that her school would fire her. She had told one of her coworkers, who attended the same church, that she would pray for him. While he thanked her at the time, he later seemed to use the event as ammunition to retaliate against her. A letter from her employer explicitly forbade any religious phrases on school property, even in private.
“Stating, ‘I will pray for you’, and ‘you were in my prayers’ is not acceptable – even if that other person attends the same church as you,” the school declared in a letter last September, threatening disciplinary action for any further religious “interaction” that would be “deemed unprofessional.”
Toni Richardson, a special education technician at Cony High School in Augusta, Maine, started work on the same day as a male colleague. He reportedly expressed deep concerns about the job, and so she privately told him she would pray for him. At the time, he thanked Richardson for that.
The coworker started causing trouble in the classroom, and even told Richardson to her face that “you suck the oxygen out of the room when you walk into it,” and added, “There’s nothing you can do to change.” In one episode in September of last year, Richardson recalled her coworker putting his finger in her face, loudly saying, “I can’t believe you. You are rude. You are wrong!” all this in front of students.
She filed an official complaint against him the next day, and the day afterward she received a letter in response. Rather than addressing her concerns, the letter admonished her — for the comfort she gave her coworker.