Students in Peril for Praying for Professor

  • Rick Scarborough
  • Apr 13, 2009

In Alameda, California two college students are fighting for their fundamental rights as Americans.  In 2007 they took a Christmas gift to the office of one of their professors where she told them she wasn’t feeling well.  One of the students, Kandy Kiriacou, offered to pray for her, and she accepted their thoughtful gesture. 

They bowed their heads together to pray only to be interrupted by another faculty member, Derek Piazza, who exclaimed, “You can’t do that in here!”  Kandy and fellow student Ojoma Omaga quickly left the room only to be followed out by Piazza, continuing his rebuke along the way.

A short while later the students were shocked to receive letters from the school with an “intent to suspend,” citing no real reasons for the action other than vague references to "disruptive or insulting behavior" and "willful disobedience."  Kiriacou was later told by school officials that she was being disciplined for praying for the teacher.  Omaga’s only apparent offense was being with Kiriacou.

These two students were not smoking marijuana, intoxicated, disrespectful, or caught cheating on a test.  They were praying for their professor.

My good friend, Brad Dacus, Esq., President of the Pacific Justice Institute, the organization that is working on the case brought by the students against the College of Alameda near Oakland, CA. Issued the following press release:

"Since when does praying for a sick teacher to get well – with her consent – earn a      suspension? This is not just a constitutional violation; it is a complete lack of common sense. These students were not looking for a fight, but since the school to this day insists that it can expel them if they pray again, we will have to resolve it in federal court,"

Pacific Justice filed a lawsuit as a result of the college refusing to rescind the letters and the girls having to live with the continued threat of suspension or expulsion for anything the school deems offensive such as public prayer or defending Biblical positions in class.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston stopped the school from denying the students the basic right of a hearing on their complaints against the school.  These include its unwillingness to rescind the letters but most importantly for being disciplined for engaging in peaceful prayer between adults who had given their mutual consent for participation.   

Contact the President of the College of Alameda directly at (510) 748-2273and express your outrage at the school’s attack on the students’ fundamental rights as well its unwillingness to grant them a hearing.

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I remain...Your servant and friend,

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Pastor Rick Scarborough




Fear the Lord and judge with integrity, for the Lord our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.   2 Chronicles 19:7

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