Two students have filed suit against Peralta College after being suspended for praying.
Now, I’m not one who likes to go off half-cocked. Normally, I like to go beyond the headlines, and often find that there’s just more to it than that. Like, maybe they were praying loudly in the middle of class, being disruptive, and ignoring the professor’s instructions to sit down. Then, I’ll be honest, I’d probably back a suspension.
But that isn’t what happened.
According to court documents, Kyriacou was praying with an instructor in December 2007 — after the instructor said she was feeling ill — when another instructor entered the office and told the student that praying was not allowed. Soon afterward, Kyriacou was talking with Omaga in a hallway, where the same instructor confronted them and said, “You can’t be doing that in there. That’s our office.”
A few days later, they were served with suspension papers citing, get this, “”Disruptive or insulting behavior, willful disobedience, habitual profanity or vulgarity; or the open and persistent defiance of the authority of, refusal to comply with directions of, or persistent abuse of, college employees in the performance of their duty on or near the school premises or public sidewalks adjacent to school premises.”
Evidently, after consultation with the students’ attorneys, the school did take back the suspensions. “Instead,” says the report, “administrators formally warned the women that they cannot engage in disruptive behavior.”
Singling out students based solely on their religious beliefs? Warning them that practice of those beliefs is considered “disruptive behavior?” On a state-funded campus?
There is no excuse for this, and none should be accepted.