Tags: School Prayer | Prayer in Charter Schools | Religion | Debate | Pros | Cons

Prayer in School Pros and Cons: 5 Key Points in Ongoing Debate

By    |   Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 03:59 PM

Courts across the United States have ruled that prayers led by school officials are not allowed in public and charter schools, banned because of the Establishment Clause in the Constitution that guarantees separation of church and state.

Despite efforts to separate religion from schools, the courts have made it clear that no one can interfere with a child's right to pray on his or her own, to read the Bible or other religious work in school, or to attend religious events that are set up so they don't interfere with instructional time.

The issue is whether an administrator or a teacher forces specific religious viewpoints on children. For instance, the Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, a North Carolina charter school, got into trouble for violating the Establishment Cause after a teacher taught children a prayer to say at lunchtime, according to The Daily Courier.

ALERT: Should Prayer Be Allowed in Public Schools? Vote Now

"Peer pressure being as strong as it is among the young, many students who might otherwise choose not to participate in prayer will do so for fear of otherwise being seeing as an oddball," says Exploring Constitutional Conflict on separating religion and education.

The school promptly updated its policy on religion, and at a special meeting, a local resident in attendance said, "If you deny these children the right to pray, you will stand in front of Jesus and he will deny you," reported The Daily Courier.

The individual, Donald Owens, also said a prayer at the end of his comments: "God, I ask to have your will accomplished in this school, so that the children who rely on you can grow up in a community where they realize their teacher was able to lead them in prayer."

VOTE NOW: Do You Support Prayer in Public Schools?

The courts have been careful to protect the child's right to pray individually, as in the case of Gabriella Perez in Florida. Perez bowed her head to pray over lunch and was told by a school employee, "it was wrong to pray," reports Liberty Institute.

"The Supreme Court held over half a century ago that students do not 'shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate," Liberty Institute stated on their website. "Sadly, aggressive anti-faith groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the ACLU have created a culture of fear inside our nation's schools — to the point that a 5-year-old child is told by school officials to stop praying over her school lunch!"

The fight to educate people — both within the school system and without — about what is and isn't allowed with regard to prayer and other religious acts in school can be difficult with many people believing that prayer isn't allowed in public schools.

Just as in public schools, charter schools are allowed to have a "moment of silence" in which children can pray or do whatever they would like. However, the law guarantees student's fundamental religious freedoms while requiring the school to maintain a religiously neutral environment.

URGENT: Should Students Be Allowed to Pray in Public Schools? Vote Here Now!

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Courts across the United States have ruled that prayers led by school officials are not allowed in public and charter schools, banned because of the Establishment Clause in the Constitution that guarantees separation of church and state.
Prayer in Charter Schools, Religion, Debate, Pros, Cons
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2015-59-19
Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 03:59 PM
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