The woman addressed the Suffolk school board during the public comment portion of the Aug. 10 meeting and requested to use her time at the microphone to offer a prayer for Suffolk Public Schools with all those present. However, Board Chair Tyron Riddick interjected with a polite reminder that such an action was not permissible.
“Why can’t we?” the woman asked Riddick. “I’d like to pray for our students in our school.”
Riddick replied that prayer wasn’t what she “signed up to do” and asked her to “get back on to your topic.”
“That is my topic sir,” the woman told Riddick.
“Well, then, it’s not permitted at this time,” Riddick responded.
“To pray for our schools is not permitted?” she asked.
“That’s correct,” Riddick answered again.
The woman invited those in attendance to join her in prayer outside the building after the board meeting, noting that she believed “the only way that we’re gonna come together is through God and our faith.” Additionally, she asked God to place those “working for children” in the district “for any other reason … under conviction.”
After Riddick questioned whether such prayer was permissible at this public venue, a number of people stood up and began reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
In response, Riddick called for a meeting recess and banged his gavel. It appeared that another board member then instructed him to “ask the officers to remove” those who were praying.
After the prayer was finished, two police officers were seen approaching the front of the public area of the meeting room. It is unclear if anyone was asked to leave or not. Thereafter, Riddick addressed everyone again.
“I believe in abiding by a book that is very influential, and it says to be decent and in order, and we have to be mindful that we don’t cherry-pick the book,” he told the crowd, presumably in reference to 1 Corinthians 14:40 in the Bible. “But conduct unbecoming will not be tolerated, since it’s not a place to grandstand. We’re here for business, and if we’re truly about our Father’s business, we would be decent and in order. We can respectfully disagree, and if we fall short, we can repent.”
Following the recess, Riddick resumed discussion regarding the prayer that had occurred during the gathering.
“What was witnessed tonight … could be a violation of other persons’ rights … everybody has a right to choose their own religion [in America]. And if we allow a Christian prayer to proceed, what do we do if a Satanist was to come in and say, ‘I want to pray as well’? We have to respect everyone’s rights.”
Riddick added that if the board allowed any one prayer, it would invite individuals of any faith to do so. He went on to express that although Christian values should be upheld, the best way for religious beliefs to be projected is through ethical and moral actions.
He concluded by emphasizing the importance of being quick to acknowledge and correct any shortcomings in order to move forward. The Christian Post attempted to contact Riddick for further comment but had not received a response at press time.
Additionally, there is video footage available from the school board meeting which pertains to this topic.