McKinney superintendent criticized for prayer at back-to-school event

- The McKinney Independent School District superintendent will not be disciplined for praying at a back-to-school staff event.

Three people have filed complaints because Dr. Rick McDaniels stood behind a pulpit with a cross on it and prayed at the convocation. It was held at Prestonwood Baptist Church in August.

"I realize that some of you, now you may not feel comfortable. And I'm alright with that. I understand," he said.

McDaniels then brought up the terrorists who used a van to killed pedestrians in Barcelona, Spain.

“So for those of you who feel comfortable praying with me that's fine. At a minimum, we're going to have a moment of silence for those folks in Barcelona and others who have lost their lives to terrorist activity around the world. We can make a difference and it starts right here. Please join with me,” he said before bowing his head in prayer to the “Heavenly Father.”

The non-profit group Freedom from Religion Foundation said the district violated its obligation to stay neutral on religious matters.

The district is not-only defending the superintendent but also the church, saying the venue was chosen simply because it is large enough to hold the entire district staff.

“Prestonwood Baptist Church has been used by McKinney ISD and a number of area school districts including Frisco ISD, Plano ISD and Prosper ISD based on legitimate criteria, including size, cost, staging areas, air conditioning and location. McKinney ISD is currently constructing a comprehensive stadium and community event center. The District intends to take full advantage of its new facilities once completed, including holding future convocations,” the district said in a statement.

 

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