No evidence girl told not to pray, Seminole County Public Schools says

Board wraps up investigation into kindergartener's claim after video posted on YouTube

By Michelle Dendy - Web Editor
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OVIEDO, Fla. - Seminole County Public Schools said on Wednesday it found no evidence that a school worker told a 5-year-old elementary school student that she wasn't allowed to pray in the lunchroom.

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The SCPS investigation was launched after the father of Gabriella Perez, a kindergartener at Carillon Elementary School in Oviedo, posted a video on YouTube last month detailing Gabriella's re-enactment of a worker telling her she wasn't allowed to pray.

School officials said Wednesday a district attorney sent a letter to the Perez family and their lawyer outlining their conclusions and will release an investigative report to the public.

The Perez family called for an apology earlier this month, and their attorneys said at a news conference Gabriella was presented with a lineup and positively identified the "lunchroom teacher" who she says told her praying was wrong.

The YouTube video sparked controversy as father Marco Perez asked Gabriella about the incident. She said in the video that she was bowing her head when a lunchroom teacher told her she wasn't allowed to pray.

The Perez family said the exchange occurred in the lunchroom of Carillon Elementary School the week of March 10.


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