Praying hall monitor suspended; students protest

A hall monitor at Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver was punished for praying, according to students who are protesting the move.

A hall monitor at Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver was punished for praying, according to students who are protesting the move. (5/6/16)

LITTLE SILVER - A hall monitor at Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver was punished for praying, according to students who are protesting the move.

They say Joel Gray, a popular hall monitor who sometimes prayed with students, was placed on a week of administrative leave as punishment.

"I can say personally that he inspires me every day to keep a positive mindset," said Max Portman, a student at the school.

Superintendent Tom Pagano said he could not discuss personnel issues, but also that no employee had been terminated.

The Supreme Court has ruled that faculty can teach about religion, but not impose it on students, Pagano said, but he would not confirm whether the prayers were the issue in this case.

Parents have expressed support for Gray as well.

"They need someone to talk to, and they feel they have no other way out, and Mr. Gray or anyone else offers or agrees to pray with them — I have no problem with that," said Nikki Van Huff.

The superintendent said officials discuss personnel issues during Board of Education meetings. The next one is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18.

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