A conservative legal advocacy group is threatening a lawsuit against a school that is accused of stopping a 5-year-old girl from praying.
Officials at Seminole County Schools issued an apology to the girl’s family last week, although they found “zero evidence an incident ever occurred.”
The girl’s father, Marco Perez, posted video of his kindergartener daughter making the claim earlier this month, and Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes wrote a column about the alleged incident.
Perez is vice president of sales for the Christian publisher Charisma House, which will release Starnes’ new book — “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values” — next week.
Attorney Jeremy Dys, of the Liberty Institute, issued a statement Wednesday saying the family was “grateful” for the school district’s apology, along with assurances that students were permitted to “exercise their First Amendment freedoms” to pray at school.
But two days later, reported Right Wing Watch, Dys and the family rejected the apology and accused the school of never conducting an investigation into the girl’s claims.
Dys sent a letter Friday to the school district requesting video footage, emails to or about the Perez family, or phone logs related to the case.
The school’s investigation found no evidence that the employee accused of ordering the girl to stop praying had been anywhere near the lunchroom where kindergartners and first-graders eat.
“We apologized for the incident she believes occurred, but there was nothing warranted or found,” said school district spokesman Mike Lawrence.
Dys said Lawrence made “false and defamatory statements publicly and intentionally” about the girl and her family and requested he be disciplined.
“Mr. Lawrence went out and essentially called our client a liar,” Dys said.
The Liberty Institute threatened to take legal action against the school, claiming the family were the victims of “false and defamatory statements” because the school announced their public accusations had turned out to be groundless.
Starnes’ book, which is about alleged discrimination against Christians in American society, is due out May 6.