In-Depth: Texas teacher questions if she was fired for promoting Christianity to students

District says firing wasn’t related to her faith.
Posted at 7:32 AM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2:04 AM, May 13, 2022

ABILENE, Texas — “I should never have to apologize for Christ,” said Nellie Parrish, a fourth-grade teacher at Wylie Independent School District.

Now, the 20-year veteran teacher is questioning why she won’t be in a classroom next year.

“I had two complaints that were brought up to me from the principal, one was over prayer,” Parrish said.

Parrish went on to say she received another complaint about playing Christian music in her class.

“These claims have been investigated and were unfounded,” said Joey Light, superintendent of Wylie ISD.

Meanwile, Parrish told the school board that she plays a variety of music in the classroom.


“April 14, Ricky Bacon informed me that my contract would not be renewed,” Parrish said.

The teacher went in front of the school board this week.

She used the time to speak about teachers and lack of support.

She also expressed her disappointment in the lack of transparency for her firing.

“I’ve asked repeatedly why I’m being let go,” said Parrish.

“The principal will not answer me.”

Parrish said the school would play Christian music in the cafeteria alongside holding a prayer before football games.

Adding that Light, the district’s superintendent, is known to lead a prayer on the first day of school.

“What has happened to us?” Parrish said.

“We use to stand for our faith,”

People across the community have since come to the defense of the fired teacher, taking to both social media and the school board meeting.

One teacher told the school board members she felt led to pray and read scripture.

“I ask for a fresh lens tonight and that the truth would be seen,” the teacher said.

Prayer in school has been a recent debate in the Supreme Court.


The case involves Joe Kennedy, a former high school football coach who was fired for allegedly pressuring students to perform Christian prayers.

Back in 1962, the Supreme Court ruled that New York state public schools could not begin school days with a state-composed prayer.

The court’s opinion was that the practice violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause since it amounted to government-sponsored religious instruction.

Joe Kennedy, a former assistant high school football coach in Bremerton, Washington, stands outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on April 5, 2022. The court has agreed to hear a case he brought against the Bremerton School District that put him on leave after he refused to cease his practice of kneeling on the field for a post-game prayer.

T.J. Kirkpatrick, for the Deseret News

The Supreme Court now leads with more conservative judges and seems to be searching April 25 to rule in favor of a former coach who was fired for praying.

But there was a problem, existing disputes over the coaches’ conduct.

In the United States, Pew research shows a recent sharp decline in Christianity.

  • 65 percent of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade.
  • Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12 percent in 2009. Members of non-Christian religions also have grown modestly as a share of the adult population

So what’s next for the Wylie ISD teacher?
She has since refused to resign and says this can go on her record.

It was also expressed that one Wylie teacher retired early because of a threatened lawsuit.

“We need to stand firm in our principles and faith,” Parrish said.


Since news broke of her firing, Parrish said she feels “blessed” by the response she’s gotten in the following statement:

“Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out. You have no idea how much it means to me and my family. Being a teacher and coach is one of my greatest blessings. I’m so thankful to God for the special amazing students and athletes that he placed in my life. You all have blessed me more than you’ll ever know. Our family appreciates your continued prayers. Blessings to you.”
Nellie Parrish

The Wylie ISD superintendent has since responded, disputing her claims:

“Nellie Parrish’s contract termination was not because of prayer or Christianity,” said Light.

“This is false information and district personnel matters will not be discussed due to privacy,

“District termination policies were followed.”

Texas Teacher Claims She Was Fired For Proselytizing


Gustav2 • 2 days ago

Parrish said the school would play Christian music in the cafeteria alongside holding a prayer before football games, adding that Joey Light, the district’s superintendent, is known to lead a prayer on the first day of school.


Teedofftaxpayer Gustav2 • 2 days ago

It’s Texas they only believe in the Constitution when it suits their needs.

Tuxedocat Teedofftaxpayer • 2 days ago

Nah, they don’t believe in it at all and just make up their own version. With Jesus and guns!

Posthumously Gustav2 • 2 days ago

Not for much longer, unfortunately. The US Supreme Court is poised to allow all of that in the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District case.

‘Til Tuesday 🌼 ☔️ 🌷 ☀️ • 2 days ago

It sounds like she’s “grooming” her students to turn them religious.

cheakamus ‘Til Tuesday 🌼 ☔️ 🌷 ☀️ • 2 days ago

And whereas you can’t “groom” someone to become homosexual, virtually all religious believers got that way through grooming.

Paula • 2 days ago

Her claims are bullshit. They can’t just terminate her for no clear reason. If she was new to that district and still probationary status, they could non-renew her contract. That would make me wonder if she had been released from other districts for similar reasons. Something is missing from this story.

ChipSF • 2 days ago

Damn Right! Keep your fucking religious twiddle twaddle out of public schools.

another_steve • 2 days ago

A gentle reminder: Not all Christians proselytize.

I’m married to a devout Christian man. He’s never – in the 48 years we’ve been together – proselytized in any way to me. Like all good and compassionate people of faith, he keeps his personally-held religious beliefs to himself, with no desire to “convert” anyone to anything.

He’s far from alone.

There are many many good and compassionate people of faith.

8 thoughts on “In-Depth: Texas teacher questions if she was fired for promoting Christianity to students

  1. Hi Scottie;
    I struggled to find the reason behind this woman’s complaint. It seemed like her charge that she was fired for “promoting Christianity” has no foundation, especially in Texas. In most republican circles, “the will to work” laws are sacrosanct – and basically mean that someone can be fired at the will of the employer. So, this person is bringing up religion as a “reason” for the firing, knowing that the principal CAN’T SAY ANYTHING about her firing to the media without risking a law suit.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Randy. Yup. There is more to the story. I suspect she forced her religion on a kid or tried to set up a bible study, insulted another religion, or otherwise pushed the envelope past what even Texas could handle. She has such an entitled mind frame about pushing her religion on students who basically cannot correct her or leave the situation. Or as you say she could be trying to frame this as she is a really nice Christian lady and has no idea why they fired her so that when the entire story comes out she already has her nice Christian lady narrative out there. Did she steal money? Did she bring in her preacher? Have an affair with someone married. How could they say that about me, I am a nice church lady. Makes sense. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Based, however, on the school’s stance that this was NOT based on religious reasons, it would seem the reason she’s saying it was because of her “expression of faith” is to gather support from her religious cohorts. I wonder if news reports will ever reveal the “real” reason …

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am reminded of a British theatrical play of the early 1970s and set during the British Civil War of the 17th Century (but the title eludes my interest searches). This one line has always stayed in my head.
    First Character: There are two sides to every story.
    Second Character: Three if the truth be known.

    Liked by 1 person

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