Loading
Lawsuit claims California college threatened to expel students who prayed
Lawsuit claims California college threatened to expel students who prayed

.- Two students filed a federal lawsuit this past Monday against the publicly-funded College of Alameda alleging that school officials at the California school threatened to expel them for praying.

The events prompting the lawsuit took place in December, 2007, a press release from the Pacific Justice Institute reports.

That month, student Kandy Kyriacou visited an instructor to give her a Christmas gift. Kyriacou found the instructor alone in her shared office. When the instructor indicated she was ill, Kyriacou offered to pray for her.

The instructor bowed her head and Kyriacou began to pray. They were then interrupted by another faculty member, Derek Piazza, who entered the room and said “You can’t be doing that here!”

Kyriacou left to join her friend and fellow student Ojoma Omaga. Piazza followed Kyriacou and repeated his rebuke. The students related that they were surprised by his intimidating behavior.

Three days before Christmas, both students received letters notifying them of the college’s retroactive “intent to suspend” them. While school policy requires such letters to state factual bases for the charges, the letter only vaguely accused the students of “disruptive or insulting behavior, willful disobedience . . . persistent abuse of college employees.”

An administrative hearing reportedly found Kyriacou’s prayer worthy of discipline and threatened suspension or expulsion for further infractions.

The students turned to the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) for assistance. PJI attorneys attempted to resolve the situation through demand letters, but the college did not respond.

PJI local affiliate attorneys Steven N. H. Wood and Christopher Schweickert made a final demand that college officials rescind disciplinary letters and acknowledge the students’ right to pray, but the college refused. On Monday, Wood, Schweickert, and PJI staff attorneys filed a federal lawsuit.

"It's outrageous," PJI President Brad Dacus stated. "Since when does praying for a sick teacher to get well - with her consent - earn a suspension? This is not just a constitutional violation; it is a complete lack of common sense. These students were not looking for a fight, but since the school to this day insists that it can expel them if they pray again, we will have to resolve it in federal court."

CNA spoke with Dacus in a Friday interview. Dacus said there had been no further progress on the case since the Monday filing.

“We’re starting the long litigation process,” he said.

“Defending the rights of students to pray in public places or in colleges or universities is the most fundamental protection of the free exercise of religion that we can imagine.

“These student’s rights were clearly violated, and they must be vindicated in the court of law,” Dacus told CNA.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Exorcism or prayer of liberation?
First meeting of Commission for Protection of Minors
Jul
22

Liturgical Calendar

July 22, 2014

Saint Mary Magdalene

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:24-43

Gospel
Date
07/20/14
07/19/14
07/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Mic 7: 14-15, 18-20

Saint of the Day

St. Mary Magdalene »

Saint
Date

Homily of the Day

Mt 12:38-42

Homily
Date
07/21/14
07/20/14
07/19/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: