Teacher let go over prayer in classroom

Published 4:34 pm Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MEADVILLE – A Franklin County High School teacher’s contract wasnot renewed Tuesday, allegedly because of her insistence on holdingprayer in her classroom.

According to a document and comments posted on the Internetsocial site Facebook, FCHS teacher Alice Hawley, 55, was notifiedTuesday she would not receive a contract to teach at thatinstitution for the 2010-11 school year because of “continued andregular leading of (her) students in prayer during class” and”insubordination by failure to stop having class prayer after beingtold to stop.”

The document is signed by Franklin County School DistrictSuperintendent Dr. Grady Fleming and gives Hawley five days torequest a public hearing over the non-renewal of her contract.

When contacted Tuesday night, Hawley confirmed her pendingdismissal for leading prayers in her classroom but declined todiscuss the matter until consulting with an attorney.

FCHS Principal M.D. Bilbo declined to comment on Hawley’snon-renewal.

“It’s a personnel matter,” said Bilbo, who directed questions toFleming’s office.

Fleming could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

According to a short bio of Hawley on the website School inSites, she taught at FCHS from 1986-1993, retired for seven yearsand returned to that school in 2004.

The contract controversy has generated many comments on variouspages on Facebook. One page set up in support of Hawley had morethan 1,300 members Wednesday morning.