Speech at Keller HS, principal's response draw controversy

A recent motivational speech given to Keller High School juniors ended up getting the speaker fired.

The assembly topic at Keller High School on Monday was alleviating stress in students' lives. The hired speaker mentioned Jesus in front of the audience and expressed his own Christian beliefs, setting off a wave of controversy surrounding the separation of church and state.

Further uproar followed the principal's response, which was a letter apologizing to parents and an update on an apparent backlash for the speaker.

The principal's letter says, in part, "The speaker in question is, reportedly, no longer employed with the company that sent him to present…please accept my personal apology for this unexpected incident."

Attorney Shonn Brown has experience with education legal issues. She's not involved in the incident, but believes the school was proactive and acting responsibly with an apology.

"Because of the language this speaker used, making references to Christians, it could be perceived by the school that it is somehow endorsing the language regarding religion and Christian values," said Brown.

In the meantime, parents are keeping up the debate.

"Jesus doesn't need to be in school," said Keller parent Kristy Merrity. "I mean, people go to church to get their religion. It's OK; I believe it should be in school, but it shouldn't be forced on kids who don't believe in it."

Another parent, Laura Flohr, feels differently.

"I think everybody should have the opportunity to express themselves and express their religion," said Flohr. "Taking God out of things is making a mess. I think it's good to have God."

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