Principal in trouble over prayer breakfast endorsement

Posted: 10/16/2010 by Lynn Dartez in Christian

OneNewsNow

10/15/2010

A school principal in California has filed a lawsuit against his school district, saying he’s been punished and threatened with job termination for appearing in a video promoting a prayer breakfast to honor teachers.

Craig Richter (Calif. school principal)Foothill Elementary principal Craig Richter is being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund. ADF senior counsel Joseph Infranco tells OneNewsNow the school district disciplined the principal, who is a Christian, for making a 30-second appearance in a video promotion of the event.

“Santa Barbara has for the last 52 years held [an interdenominational] community prayer breakfast [that] honors all faiths,” the attorney explains. “Craig Richter simply was a part of a promotional, along with another administrator and a teacher, just urging local merchants to take part in this day of prayer. [He did it] on his own time — [this] was purely a private communication.”

Joe Infranco (ADF)Richter did not attend the prayer breakfast. But Infranco says a member of the school board saw the video on the Internet and complained that it was an illegal promotion of religion. The district then threatened to end Richter’s contract in March and placed him on a disciplinary “performance plan.”

Infranco calls those actions “an absurd overreach” by the district and an “intrusion into [Richter’s] private life and faith.”

“If this is the school’s concept of the so-called ‘separation of church in state,’ we’re in a scary place,” Infranco warns. “A school should not be bullying and intimidating and threatening a Christian administrator simply because he wanted to honor teachers at an event that included prayer.”

The suit seeks an injunction preventing the Goleta Union School District from firing the principal.

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