Prayer during Texas school district meeting causes backlash

A superintendent from a Texas school district is embroiled in a controversy after leading district staff in prayer at a back-to-school meeting.

McKinney Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel led district staff in prayer at the district’s convocation in August. Multiple McKinney Independent School District community members, and at least one staff member, reported the prayer to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the organization said.

In a letter, Freedom From Religion asked the district to formally discipline McDaniel, and to tell district employees prayers will not be included at future events. The district, however, said it would not punish McDaniel.

“The Board has no plans to discipline Superintendent McDaniel with regards to complaints filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation,” McKinney ISD Board President Curtis Rippee said in a statement.

A video of the event on the district’s YouTube page shows the mention of prayer by McDaniel was met with applause from a significant majority of the building. Three staff members who McDaniel said asked him to pray, joined him on stage. McDaniel admitted before the prayer that some people might not be comfortable with it.

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