Tiny Polk Co. community thrown into national spotlight

Yearbook photo of Pam McLaurin
Yearbook photo of Pam McLaurin

By Whitney Grunder - email

DALLARDSVILLE, TX (KTRE) - Dallardsville, Texas. Population under 500. Stretches from the post office and local burger joint to the Big Sandy School District. The community keeps to itself, until it recently gained national attention when kindergarten teacher Pam McLaurin refused to get fingerprinted, claiming that it violates her religious freedom.

"East Texas is the Bible Belt," her attorney, Pam McLaurin said. "Most people worship. It's just understood government doesn't intrude into that."

McLaurin has been teaching for more than 20 years.

"She's been in this community most of her life, all of her adult life," Superintendent Kenneth Graham said. "If there was something someone around here would know about it."

Others who know her agree, she is not trying to escape anything.

"Her husband's a preacher, they have their own congregation. A small one locally. And she truly believes what she said," Postmaster Stephen Young said.

"I think she's very sweet and very good with the students," parent Kathryn Burks said. "Especially my son."

Some say the law is the law.

"And if everyone else has to do it, then they have to do it," resident Oscar Shackelford said.

But McLaurin's attorney claims part of her dispute is based on several chapters in the Bible, which the teacher takes seriously.

The law was passed with some unintended consequences not realizing that many evangelical Christians take Revelations very literally," Skelton said.

McLaurin said this is all bout standing up for her beliefs and she wishes she didn't have to choose between her job and her religion.

It's a choice which she may be forced to make.

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