An atheist group has convinced the Concord, New Hampshire, school district to put a stop to a mother's practice of showing up at a local school each morning to pray for the safety of her children and other students who attend the school. Beginning in February, after bullets were discovered in one of the bathrooms at Concord High School where her two teen children attend, Lizarda Urena had been coming to the school each morning, arriving around 7 a.m. and spending approximately 15 minutes reading Bible Scripture aloud and praying for the safety of her children and other students.
Urena, who was described by the New Hampshire Union-Leader as an anti-bullying activist, continued her morning prayer vigil for four months with no complaints until the ubiquitous and pesky Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) somehow got wind of what she was doing and contacted the Concord school district to protest and insist that school officials make the concerned mother stop.
“We sent an open records request to the school district, asking them for copies of any meeting minutes or any sort of documents which gave this woman permission to pray on school property,” FFRF attorney Rebecca Markert told the Union-Leader. When district superintendent Christine Rath responded that “there is no document giving Ms. Urena permission to pray on school property,” the atheist group sprang into action, shooting off a letter to the district, insisting that it put a stop to the mother's daily prayers. “In allowing Ms. Urena to pray aloud daily,” the letter read, “... the Concord School District is placing its ‘stamp of approval’ on the religious messages contained in her prayers.”
Attorney Markert noted that in her daily vigil, “Urena positions herself at the top of the school's stairs and prays out loud,” adding that she “holds her hands out toward students entering the school building.”
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