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Prayer in School

Today was my son's first day of Kindergarten. At lunchtime a teacher told him along with the rest of the class NOT to say any prayers before lunch. We have encouraged our son to pray QUIETLY and TO HIMSELF if he would like to do so. We pray before every meal and find it is very important to show our thanks. I do understand how things have changed regarding prayer in school since I went to elementary school and how it is not practiced. But, I don't want my child to be reprimanded or be considered to be misbehaving if he decides to say a silent prayer.

My question is: What are the rules these days in regards to praying in school? Is it a common occurance for kids to be punished or reprimanded if they decide to say a quick 10 second prayer to themselves?

 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 9:29 PM on Aug. 24, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

This question is closed.
Answers (14)
  • Your son can say a silent prayer. No, they cannot be reprimanded or punished. That would be unconstitutional and the school would be opening itself up to a lawsuit. As a matter of fact the school/teacher can already get in trouble just for being told they cannot pray. If anything does come up or it becomes an issue and they try to punish or stop your son go to the website for ACLJ.. they help in alot of situations where a school has tried to take away a students rights.

    Here's the link:

    http://www.aclj.org/
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:37 PM on Aug. 24, 2009

  • It truly depends on where you are at. I know that here in TN where I live they have a moment of silence before the "official" start of the day and the kindergarten teacher told the kids that they could either say a prayer, think a special thought, or anything else but they had to be quiet while doing it. I've also have been to the school during lunch time and you can see kids saying a silent prayer before they start eating. I would talk to the school and see what you can get done. It never hurts to ask.
    Juggalette0327

    Answer by Juggalette0327 at 9:33 PM on Aug. 24, 2009

  • my little girl is in pre-k and they say a pray before their "class" starts and at lunch time. she goes to a private school. i don't know how the public schools do where you are but they don't pray down here. i am so thankful that God gave us the ability to put her in a private school. and to me it is worth every penny.
    rose549

    Answer by rose549 at 9:33 PM on Aug. 24, 2009

  • How would anyone even know if a kid is praying silently for 10 seconds? Just tell your child to say his prayer like he normally would; no one will know.
    sahmamax2

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 9:42 PM on Aug. 24, 2009

  • I agree with anon 9:37 -- your son has every right to say a "silent" prayer before he has a meal or any other time for that matter. He isn't causing physical or emotional harm to anyone else, and it Is his Constitutional Right to have freedom of religion...
    I wouldn't let this just go without saying something to the school about that teacher. She may not believe, so therefore she doesn't approve of prayer. That may be true for her, but it does not give her the right to take away his right to pray...My goodness what is this world coming to.
    At my daughter's highschool, she has told me that several tables full of teenagers always say a "soft" prayer before meals. I say soft because they're not meaning to offend anyone and therefore try to be respectful of everyone's beliefs.
    Check into it and keep us updated on what's going on, ok....
    lighthousemom3

    Answer by lighthousemom3 at 9:47 PM on Aug. 24, 2009

  • That seems a bit preemptive in my opinion. Unless one of the kids asked if they were going to pray before lunch. In which case the teacher may have said 'No, we don't say prayers before lunch here' and the class took it as a reprimand. Sometimes there is a difference in perception between what an adult says and what a 5-6 year old comes home and says they heard. i would not jump to conclusions until you find out the whole story. Contact the teacher first and if you don't get satisfaction then go to the principal.

    cleanaturalady

    Answer by cleanaturalady at 9:48 PM on Aug. 24, 2009

  • Its a free country - Or at least that is what we are expected to believe. If your son wants to pray QUIETLY and TO HIMSELF then there is nothing wrong with that. However i dont think that her telling the entire class not to pray is a reprimand or punishment. Now if she said it after the fact then you have a case. Otherwise I would just get use to a different day and age.
    sugahmamma

    Answer by sugahmamma at 9:48 PM on Aug. 24, 2009

  • Sadly, they can be punished for this exact thing - my SD was suspended from school for praying. She happened to say "Amen" out loud and one of the teachers heard her - they suspended her b/c she was in the vicinity of another student whose parents were known to be Atheists - now the other child's parents really didn't care less (we're friends) and weren't offended in any way. It was the SCHOOL making a big deal out of it, not the other parents.

    We've gotten so worried about offending everyone that we forget that EVERYONE has religious rights in the US.
    jennijune_21

    Answer by jennijune_21 at 9:50 PM on Aug. 24, 2009

  • I think it's pretty invasive for the teacher to reprimand a child not to pray before a meal. And if it's a silent prayer, how would they even know? Just tell him to close his eyes, pray to himself, and then eat his meal. Absolutely no law against that!
    When I went to school, we had a 'moment of silence' at the start of each day. I like that idea. You could use the time to pray, to meditate, or to stare silently at the floor for a minute- whatever works for you. I do understand why the prayers of a specific religion are not in public schools where there are kids with very diverse beliefs. However, I think it's silly that taking a moment to silently give thanks is taboo. How ridiculous is that?
    Freela

    Answer by Freela at 9:51 PM on Aug. 24, 2009

  • OP HERE!

    I have emailed the teacher wanting assurance that he won't be reprimanded for saying a quick silent prayer before his meal. I so badly wish I could send him to a private school for this very reason. Unfortunately we cannot afford it. But, we have told him that if he does decide to say a prayer before lunch, feel free to do so and he WILL NOT get in trouble by us. We will support him with this. I will keep ya'll posted.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:51 PM on Aug. 24, 2009

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