KTVU journalist Frank Sommerville shared the heartwarming picture on social media after the mother of one of the teens sent it to him, saying, “Now with the stories today about teenagers and tide pods and condoms gathering headlines—this picture speaks for itself.”
The woman, identified as Noelle Smith, added that she was “so impressed with these young people on their prom date at Longhorn. They all said Grace before eating and were all well behaved.”
Sommerville appeared to agree, posting the photo on Facebook and writing, “Coupled with the post I did yesterday about the kids playing basketball who kneeled when a funeral procession went by, it says a lot about young people these days. It’s REALLY nice to see.”@FrankSomervilleKTVU/Facebook
However, the picture quickly sparked outrage on social media with people furiously debating whether the group of teens were “nice kids” simply because they were captured in prayer.
“Saying grace over your food says nothing of your moral compass, integrity or character … Behaving well at a restaurant while in your late teens, and being considerate to people, should not be Facebook praise worthy,” one commenter wrote.
“Let’s be clear though, kids who don’t say grace are also good kids,” another added. “Just because you aren’t Christian doesn’t make you a bad person.”
While the post was soon flooded with negative comments, Sommerville eventually addressed the criticism:
I’m honestly surprised by some of these comments.. i wasn’t trying to imply that you have to be a christian to be a good person.. what i see from these kids is that they are respectful… that they are humbled… and that they are appreciative for what they have. … i could care less whether they are religious…. but by saying grace it shows me that they have those qualities.. and those are the qualities… regardless of whether you believe in god … that i admire.
A woman claiming to be the grandmother of one of the teens also came to their defense, writing, “These kids were raised to respect their elders and to be the best that they could be.”