Tags: School Prayer | school prayer | New Jersey | lawsuit

Notable Lawsuits Over School Prayer in New Jersey

By    |   Monday, 06 Jul 2015 01:31 PM

While no recent school prayer lawsuits have been lodged in New Jersey, a school district in the state was sued in 2014 by the American Humanist Society for using the words "under God" as a part of the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, Fox News reported.

The group claimed that such words discriminated against school children in the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District who were atheists.

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“Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices,” claimed attorney David Niose of the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, in a statement. He said the phrase, which was added to the pledge in 1954, "marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots."

The association had written the school district asking it to stop recitations of the pledge, but the district said no.

The school district defended that saying the pledge each day is a part of state law. Those students who don't want to say it can opt out, noted the district's attorney David Rubin.

"We are disappointed that this national organization has targeted Matawan-Aberdeen for merely obeying the law as it stands,” Rubin said in a written statement, according to The Record.

The group followed with its New Jersey lawsuit after a similar one was filed in Massachusetts.

In terms of prayers, New Jersey law allows students to observe one minute of silence "for quiet and private contemplation or introspection," according to FindLaw.

The Federal Access Act assures that student religious groups can meet and pray on their own at schools. Students, according to FindLaw, are permitted to study religion, as long as their study meets three requirements: a secular purpose, it neither advances nor inhibits religion, it doesn't excessively entangle government with religion. Schools cannot prevent students from participating in private prayers or ask them to participate in a public prayer, FindLaw said.

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While no recent school prayer lawsuits have been lodged in New Jersey, a school district in the state was sued in 2014 by the American Humanist Society for using the words under God as a part of the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, Fox News reported.
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2015-31-06
Monday, 06 Jul 2015 01:31 PM
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