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Police, not prayer: What’s wrong with the picture in Concord?

Police were in and around Concord High School this week. A not-so-uncommon site in today’s post-Columbine, post-Newtown shootings world, the police were there for training purposes.

We suppose that is wise, although the proper weapons and safety training of willing and able on-site school personnel is more likely to help more in such situations.

A press release had police advising the public “not to be alarmed by a heavy police presence at the school.”

What is really wrong with this picture, however, is that while police in riot gear are accepted and acceptable at Concord High School, a solitary, unarmed woman praying on the school’s steps is strictly prohibited.

Concord had let Lizarda Urena, mother of two students, pray on the school’s steps for 15 minutes each morning. But then an out-of-state anti-religion group pressured the school to give her the boot. Superintendent Christine Rath did so.

Urena used to pray off campus, but when two bullets were found in a school bathroom in February, she asked Principal Gene Connolly if she could say her prayers on school grounds. He said yes.

“She’s not teaching prayer; she’s not out there asking kids to come with (her),” Connolly had told the Concord Monitor in May. “She does not promote religion.”

Her prayers are to bring peace to the school, not to convert students, we said in an earlier editorial. She was blessing the school, asking God to keep it free of violence.

We think the school would be safer if it had both the praying woman AND the police practice.


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