The false rumor claiming a Moore Public Schools teacher was fired for praying out loud during the May 20 tornado was mean-spirited and disrespectful, says Superintendent Susan Pierce.
Saturday, while crews and volunteers continued to clean-up from the deadly EF-5 tornado, a rumor surfaced online that a teacher had been fired for praying as the tornado hit. The rumor quickly spread across social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The district immediately released a statement saying the rumor was completely false, and reiterated the truth during a news conference Monday afternoon.
"I am here to tell you today how disappointed I am that such a mean-spirited and disrespectful action could attempt to shift our focus from our recovery efforts," Pierce said.
Pierce says the rumor regarding a teacher named Paulina Trumble first surfaced on a website she and her staff had never heard of. The district researched and discovered no teacher by that name ever worked for Moore Public Schools.
Still, the rumor spread quickly, and even led to threatening messages against district employees, including the principal of Briarwood Elementary School. The tornado destroyed the school, but everyone inside survived.
The district has turned those threats over to police.
Pierce says the district respects people's faiths, and teaches its students to do the same. She says she prayed during the storm and continues to pray for the recovery of her community.
"I prayed before I came here today. I haven't stopped praying. We haven't stopped praying. We are a very faith-based community. We all turn to our faiths in times of crisis."
Pierce also says she hopes this "unfortunate act" will encourage people to seek the truth.
"Our social media sites are designed to encourage open communication. We just need it to be honest."