Virginia elementary school principal, secretary on leave after praying for student on school property

McIntosh Elementary School (Photo: Newport News Public Schools website)

NEWPORT NEWS, VA (WAVY/WCMH) — A principal and secretary at a Newport News elementary school are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into a prayer on school property.

A spokesperson for McIntosh Elementary School said the secretary and principal took a first grade student into an empty classroom on Wednesday, placed holy water or oil on the child’s forehead and prayed for the child. NBC4’s sister station WAVY was told the child has some behavioral issues.

The child’s mother was at the school at the time, although not in the classroom and was okay with what was happening.

The school spokesperson says someone else at the school complained.

School district officials plan to discuss the situation next week and decide if there should be any disciplinary actions. For now, the principal and the secretary remain on leave. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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