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PRAYER IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
by John Clark 
07/03/12
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Prayer has never been banned from the public schools. There is absolutely nothing stopping students from praying if that is what they want to do.

A teacher, of course, can't lead a class in prayer, but as long as the students take the initiative and leadership, apart from any staff involvement, there is no problem. An administrator or teacher is not allowed to endorse, sponsor, or participate in a prayer gathering. However, it is acceptable for students to meet together for prayer or Bible reading.

There are many ways that this can happen, before or after school, or during lunch. Over the years some students have gathered around the flag pole. For high school students who are timid about expressing their faith, they could meet and pray together in one of their cars on campus. It might require some creativity.

The distinction between legal student-initiated prayer and the banning of prayer endorsed or led by a staff member, has not been clearly communicated by either the media or by Christian leaders. Instead, many Christians have simply chosen to partly blame the ills of society on the banning of prayer from the public schools. To say that prayer has been altogether banned from the school system, as some politicians or preachers denounce, is not a totally accurate statement. Furthermore, it is acceptable for a teacher or administrator to lead a class or student body in a moment of silence, which in essence, is allowing any student a chance to pray if he or she wishes to do so.

Students with conviction and the right set of friends, who are like-minded and refuse to bow to peer pressure of their non-Christian friends, can pray all they want to, as long as it is done at a time and in a place that does not disrupt or infringe upon the normal classroom or overall educational process, or rights of other students.

The U.S. Supreme Court never banned prayer in the public schools; it simply struck down state-sponsored or state-organized prayer, which means it is legal to have prayer and Bible study groups on campus that are initiated and led by students or by someone from off the campus.

Student led prayers at graduation, however, is not a black and white issue, conditions of which vary from state to state.

This brings up another question of how much prayer is going on in our homes and family life?
The public schools were never intended to replace what the parents ought to be doing at home.

(This information was taken from, "A Parents Guide to Religion in the Public Schools", published by the National Congress of Parents and Teachers.)


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