(NewsNation) — What one North Carolina school called a “powerful moment” is now getting them some backlash.
Northwood Temple Academy, a private Christian school in Fayetteville, North Carolina, is coming under criticism for baptizing more than 100 students — without their parents’ permission.
“I feel it in my bones, You’re about to move! Today we had over 100 middle and high school students spontaneously declare their faith and get baptized today,” the school posted on Facebook Sept. 1. “We will have more pictures of these powerful moments posted over the next couple of days!”
The academy says three students were originally scheduled to be baptized for “Spiritual Emphasis Week,” NewsNation local affiliate WGHP reported. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, however, it gave the entire body the option to be baptized.
Some said their child had already been baptized, with at least one family member wondering if the school’s baptism will undo the first one.
Renee McLamb, the head of Northwood Temple Academy, sent families a letter apologizing for not telling parents about the baptisms in advance, according to the Fayetteville Observer.
“The Spirit of the Lord moved and the invitation to accept the Lord and be baptized was given and the students just began to respond to the presence of the Lord,” McLamb said in a letter, obtained by the Observer, that was sent to families.
Multiple parents complained to McLamb, according to Insider.
While noting that the school usually invites parents to be present at baptisms, “it was not the intention of any faculty member to do anything behind a parent’s back or in any kind of secret way,” McLamb wrote.
To the Observer, McLamb said the school should have given students a chance to contact parents and ask for permission.
“We were not expecting such an overwhelming response to the message that was spoken, but as a mother I certainly can empathize with why some parents were upset,” she said, per the newspaper.
NewsNation local affiliate WGHP contributed to this article.