Principal apologizes after telling students they couldn't pray in Va. school hallway

(Amelia County High School)

AMELIA Co., Va. (WSET) -- A principal in Amelia County is facing backlash after she allegedly threatened to punish students for praying in the hallway.

Students said it happened Thursday toward the end of the school day when eight students held hands and prayed in between classes and the principal immediately approached them and told them to stop.

“Once the prayer was over, we all said amen and we began to go to class,” said Matt Dunn, a student involved to WRIC in Richmond. “She immediately herded us up and detained us in the office until the end of the school day.”

Another student said the confrontation was frustrating.

“It made me feel disgusting,” Haley Williams said. “It didn’t make me proud to live in Amelia County. Honestly, it disappointed me more than anything.”

The students told WRIC the principal even threatened to suspend them for praying.

But Friday, when students and parents met with school administrators, the principal apologized and said she made a mistake.

Amelia County superintendent, Jack McKinley sent a letter to all students, calling what happened a misunderstanding and that the “situation could have been handled better.”

“I feel like moving forward, there are some things she will reflect on and it was a learning moment for all of us,” Dunn said.

McKinley told WRIC it was a learning moment for the principal about what's allowable for students and that they can pray in school as long as it doesn't interfere with classroom instruction.

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