The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that George Nathaniel, who is also a Minneapolis area pastor, was in his second year of service with Durham School Services, the bus company under contract with the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district. After receiving a previous complaint about Nathaniel's prayers with students, the company gave him a warning and assigned him a new route.
“When Nathaniel continued to lead prayers on his new routes,” reported the Star Tribune, “Durham sent him a separation letter dated Oct. 30, saying: ‘There have been more complaints of religious material on the bus as well as other complaints regarding performance. In accordance with the previous final written warning you received, your employment is hereby terminated.’”
Nathaniel countered by insisting that he has done nothing wrong. “To fire a bus driver for praying for the safety of the children” is not right, he said. “I'm a preacher and that's what I do,” Nathaniel told local radio station WCCO. “I ask the students ‘would they like to pray?’ and if they like to pray then they can [pray] themselves and then I will pray.”
Nathaniel explained that he has prayed on the job for the past two years. “We start out with a song,” he told the Minneapolis paper. “Then each person will pray if they want to pray. If they don’t want to pray, they don’t have to pray. Then I will pray and ask them if they want to join me in prayer. Just give them something constructive and positive to go to school with.”
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