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Principal prayed over FCAT testing



BROOKSVILLE — It had been a hard Friday at Brooksville Elementary School, with lots of misbehavior that didn’t bode well for the start of FCAT testing the following week.

So the principal and a few staff members at Brooksville Elementary School decided to appeal to a higher power.

They prayed and blessed their students’ desks with prayer oil.

While the Christian prayers and anointing took place after school hours on the night of Friday, Feb. 2, the oil was still on desks the following Monday when teachers opened their classrooms.

Some felt the extra help crossed a line.

“We thought it was vandalism. It was greasy. It was oily,” said fourth-grade teacher Chris Becker, who resigned later that week to take a teaching job in Citrus County. “One of my colleagues said she was told by one of the secretaries it was prayer oil,” he said. “I was very offended by that because I’m not a Christian.”

Principal Mary LeDoux said she found nothing wrong with what she and “four or five” colleagues did, but said staff members agreed to hold future prayer meetings off campus after she had a conversation with Superintendent Wendy Tellone.

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--Tom Marshall, Times staff writer

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