Alabama teacher told to change ‘just pray’ t-shirt

Just pray shirt

Usually it’s the students in a school who find themselves in violation of a school’s dress code policy, but on Monday one unsuspecting Alabama teacher found herself in the same position.

Mobile, Ala. teacher Chris Burrell picked out a shirt to wear to teacher to class that had “just pray” on it. She had bought the shirt to help raise funds for Aubreigh Nicholes — a young girl from Semmes, Ala. who was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare and inoperable brain tumor, in September of 2017. Burrell said she chose to wear the shirt because her students were testing that day and it was her “Monday feel good shirt.”

Nevertheless the school’s principal didn’t approve of the shirt and asked Burrell to change it.

“Getting sent home from work today to change my Just Pray. shirt. I purchased this shirt to raise money for #AubreighsArmy. I thought it was fitting to wear today since my kids were testing. I didn’t think twice about it. I wasn’t trying to promote religion, it was just my Monday feel good shirt. In my 15 years of teaching this has never been an issue. My heart hurts. #knowwhatmatter,” Burrell posted on Facebook after being told to change the shirt.

Just pray post

Martha Peek, superintendent of Mobile County Public Schools said the shirt violated the dress code policy, which states teachers and students are not allowed to wear clothes that reflect particular beliefs.

“We have to be cognizant of everyone’s beliefs or everyone’s thoughts in a public school,” Peek explained.

No disciplinary action has been taken against Burrell.


  1. Contrary to widespread belief, you do NOT surrender your Constitutional rights when you set foot in a public place, such as a school. After all, it was built and maintained with public funds on public land and salaries paid from public funds. Thus, it is a public place. Freedom of speech and freedom from religious persecution cannot be removed by anyone while you are in a public place. One does NOT have to be vocal when exercising their right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech can be a exceedingly silent expression. The teacher was not promoting a particular religion. She was exercising her right to free speech. I do hope a civil rights group steps forward and offers to represent the teacher in a suit against the education system. I wonder if there have been any other school members, student or staff, that have been sent home for possessing materials that say “In GOD we trust”. Uh, money…….

    Dear Ms Martha Peek. , Your dress code policy is so vague and begs to be challenged. Under that policy, the wearing of a pink hat or a red cap could be construed as expressing a particular belief. Students, please politely push back and be a messenger of change that you have rights that cannot be checked at the door like a overcoat.

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