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Prayer in School Pros and Cons: Students Weigh in on Each Side of Debate

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By    |   Sunday, 14 Dec 2014 04:57 PM

While the half-century-old ruling against prayer in schools is frequently linked to adults and decisions made at the legislative level, the people most impacted by the issue — students — have also weighed in on the pros and cons of the debate.

In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court made a pivotal decision, making the recitation of prayer in schools unlawful during the case of Engel v. Vitale. That ruling made the New York Board of Regents’ recitation of prayer in a public school setting an unlawful act.

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

A year later, the nation’s high court again issued a ruling, this time in the case of Abington School District v. Schempp. The case focused on a Pennsylvania school district’s corporate reading of the Bible and a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.

While the Supreme Court decided on the issue decades ago, the debate over its merits rages on to this day. Parents and lawmakers continue to lock horns on the issue. But the debate does not stop there. Students also have been weighing in on the debate with myriad viewpoints.

In recent years, students across the country have made headlines by proclaiming their beliefs — for or against policies concerning prayer in public schools. In some instances, the statements have been punctuated by bold gestures.

VOTE NOW: Do You Support Prayer in Public Schools?

In June 2013, Roy Costner IV, a valedictorian at Liberty High School in Liberty, South Carolina, made a stunning move during his commencement speech. While at the podium, he ripped apart a speech that had been approved by administrators. Instead, Costner recited the Lord’s Prayer, according to The Huffington Post.

Afterward, Costner defended his actions, saying “taking prayer out of schools is the worst thing we could do.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Damon Fowler, a self-proclaimed atheist at Bastrop High School in Bastrop, Lousiana, threatened administrators he would contact the ACLU if plans to have a prayer during graduation ceremonies moved forward.

During the May 2011 incident, Fowler reportedly was pilloried, hounded, and ostracized by the community, as reported in AlterNet. The school prayer went on, and Fowler reportedly was kicked out of his home by his parents, who supported the exercise. 

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

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While the half-century-old ruling against prayer in schools is frequently linked to adults and decisions made at the legislative level, the people most impacted by the issue - students - have also weighed in on the pros and cons of the debate.
prayer, in school, pros, cons, students, debate
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2014-57-14
Sunday, 14 Dec 2014 04:57 PM
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