Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Prayer is allowed in public schools

There is no ban on prayer in public schools.
The Supreme Court has not taken prayer out of public schools.

Students and teachers may pray in schools in a way that :

 is private, voluntary student prayer that does not interfere with the school's educational mission. 

 Students (and teachers) have the right to engage in voluntary individual prayer that is not coercive and does not substantially disrupt the school's educational mission and activities. For example, all students have the right to say a blessing before eating a meal. However, school officials must not promote or encourage a student's personal prayer. Students may engage with other students in religious activity during non-curricular periods as long as the activity is not coercive or disruptive. In addition, while students may speak about religious topics with their peers, school officials should intercede if such discussions become religious harassment. It is essential that private religious activity not materially disrupt the school's educational mission and activities. Personal religious activity may not interfere with the rights or well-being of other students, and the threat of student harassment and pressure must be carefully monitored. It is also critical to ensure that the religious activity is actually student-initiated, and that no school employee supervises or participates in the activity. Any school promotion or endorsement of a student's private religious activity is unconstitutional. 

Voluntary prayer presented and led by students without official permission or sanction may be constitutional, provided that it is not coercive in any way. 

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