A Minneapolis area bus driver—who is also a pastor—was fired recently due to a complaint of his practice of praying with the students on the way to school. George Nathaniel was on his second year of his career with Durham School Services when the incident occurred.
Nathaniel had been warned previously by Durham in regard to his practice of praying and distributing religious material on his bus route, and he was given a new route as a result. The pastor did not cease his practice on the new route, and upon receiving another complaint Durham sent him a letter dated October 30th stating: “There have been more complaints of religious material on the bus as well as other complaints regarding performance. In accordance with the previous final written warning you received, your employment is hereby terminated.”
Nathaniel claims that he did nothing wrong and did not require the children to pray if they did not want to. He is quoted as saying: “Then each person will pray if they want to pray. If they don’t want to pray, they don’t have to pray. Then I will pray and ask them if they want to join me in prayer. Just give them something constructive and positive to go to school with.”
A 1962 Supreme Court ruling deemed it unconstitutional for public schools to lead students in prayer.
Marie Bram started working for Spruce Tribune in 2017. Marie grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Spruce Tribune, Marie briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.