National News

Teacher told to change shirt that had "just pray" on it

Posted April 27, 2018 8:08 a.m. EDT

— A local teacher's Facebook post is causing quite the controversy. She claims she was sent home from school to change her shirt because it had the word "pray" on it.

FOX10 News asked Mobile County Public Schools Superintendent Martha Peek about it.

When teacher Chris Burrell picked her shirt to wear to school on Monday morning, it reminded her of 11-year-old Aubreigh Nicholas. It has "just pray"on it, in support of "Aubreigh's Army," a fundraiser to help the young dancer from Semmes diagnosed with a rare and inoperable brain tumor last year.

But that's not the way the school's principal saw it.

"So at the point of looking and seeing 'pray' on it, the principal said, can you put on a sweater or something, knowing that there are other people who object to that...we have to be cognizant of everyone's beliefs or everyone's thoughts in a public school," said Peek.

Peek tells us the principal was just following the rules, which say teachers and students can't wear clothes that reflect a certain belief.

In her Facebook post explaining what happened, Burrell writes, "I didn't think twice about it. I wasn't trying to promote religion, it was just my Monday feel good shirt."

We're told at the time, the principal didn't know the shirt was in support of Aubreigh's Army.

"We're totally supporting her, I think that this was just an unfortunate connection there, but still the principal would have had to exercise her judgment," said Peek.

Meanwhile, the post now has more than 800 shares, with many people coming to the teacher's defense. We're told no disciplinary action was taken against the teacher, other than asking her to change.