School gets complaints about test prayers

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

LILBURN -- Parkview High School officials took action after a parent complained that prayers were being conducted with students before Advanced Placement tests were administered at a nearby church, Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.

Parkview students have been taking AP tests at Mountain Park First Baptist Church for space reasons, Roach said.

A week ago, a parent complained that a church volunteer was conducting prayers with groups of students, Roach said. The Parkview principal spoke with a pastor at the church, who asked volunteers not to pray with the students.

The parent complained again earlier this week that the prayers were still taking place with another volunteer. Roach said the principal asked that an assistant principal overseeing testing be the only person to address students at the church.

Roach said the school also received reports that church volunteers were conducting prayers individually with students in the parking lot.

"We appreciate the church's hospitality, and we realize that those actions were well intentioned," Roach said. "Given the complaints received, the school took steps to ensure it did not happen again."

Church officials could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Testing at the church ends today.