National/World

Praying school bus driver fired in Minnesota

Friday, November 08, 2013

A school bus driver who was praying with students while on the bus was fired by the company.

George Nathaniel III, a pastor at a Minneapolis church, was driving for Durham School services before he was fired. He said he's out a job because of complaints of religious materials on the school bus.

Nathaniel said the children had a choice whether or not to engage in prayer.

"I'm a preacher and that's what I do," Nathaniel said. "I ask the students would they like to pray and if they like to pray they can lead pray themselves and then I will pray."

He said some children chose not to pray.

"A couple of routes I had children that chose not to pray and that was fine," he said.

Nathaniel said the bus company told him to stop praying on the bus. When his route was changed, he said he approached parents about praying with their children.

"No parent complained to me personally so I just heard it from the district," Nathaniel said.

ACLU Legal Director Teresa Nelson believes Nathaniel violated the First Amendment with his school bus prayers.

"The school bus is a captive audience when he is driving the bus he is acting like a school official and he does not have the right to proselytize or promote religion in that context," Nelson said.

Durham School Services says it is company policy not to discuss individual employment decisions in the media, but added the company does not have a specific policy on the subject of prayer.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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