Published June 13, 2013
A graduation ceremony at a Texas preschool that began with a prayer is drawing criticism from a group advocating for the separation of church and state.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a complaint with the Beaumont Independent School District over the May 13 ceremony, 12NewsNow.com reported.
The complaint was filed on behalf of Amber Barnhill, a parent who claims a teacher at Amelia Elementary opened the ceremony with a prayer and had the student leading it say, "in Jesus' name, Amen."
Barnhill told the station she approached the teacher after the ceremony with her concerns over the prayer and was offended by her repose.
"She said it was legal, freedom of speech. Not religion but her way of life. She said she could not allow herself to apologize," Barnhill said.
The teacher, who was not identified in the report, told 12NewsNow.com she apologized to Barnhill and said the prayer was meant to give her students a realistic graduation experience.
"I didn't intend to impose, I just tried to mock a graduation. I did apologize to the lady who was the only one I found who was offended," the teacher told the station.
The district said it will respond to the organization's complaint with an investigation, the station reported.