Hundreds of local School employees gather to pray for students - WSMV Channel 4

Hundreds of local School employees gather to pray for students

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

It's a controversial topic that's been on the minds of many the last few weeks, as prayer and schools are torn apart.

But that controversy isn't keeping one group of employees from praying for their school system.

44,000 students go to Hamilton County Schools every day.

For teachers like Ruthie Panni, she says the more encouragement she can get the better.

"What we're offering is teachers to be encouraged in their faith and how that's going to impact their lives in the schools," said Panni.

Which is why Panni says hundreds of school employees gathered in prayer.

5th grade teacher, Bethanie Reynolds tells Channel 3 that while religion is separate from school, her faith still shines through her actions.

"Sharing our faith is more than reading the bible to our students, it's how we treat them, it's praying every morning for our students. It's treating people with respect and with love and that doesn't infringe on anyone's religious rights," said Reynolds.

But while these school members all have the same perspective, Panni agrees that others might not.

"You have to respect the fact that not all of us have the same faith and that's part of being an American that we all have that freedom of religion," said Panni.

Which is why she says they were careful when planning the event; by holding it off school property to avoid any trouble and carefully spreading the word.

"It would have made it a lot easier to send out an email, but we didn't want to give anyone the opportunity to say we had misused Hamilton County email or equipment," said Panni. "I believe God has a plan for every purpose and has a love for every person and if we can be a part of sharing that, to me that's a greater message than being scared of some people who don't agree with me."   

Panni says she hopes their service Sunday night causes a chain reaction across the country and that every school system stops and prays the Sunday after Labor Day.

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