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Prayer in School

Yesterday 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?


Asked by Anonymous at 9:47 AM on Aug. 25, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (6)
  • Do you know if she might have meant not to pray out loud and just phrased it badly, and he didn't understand what she meant?

    I mean, its his first day of school, and he doesn't want to do anything wrong, so he hears "you can't say a prayer AT ALL", when what she probably meant was not to pray aloud...

    Because legally, while the precedence varies by state, it generally favors moments of silent reflection/contemplation (different states word it differently)... I would ask his teacher, and then explain to him what is/is not permissible in a way that he knows what he can and cannot do. I mean, no on can stop him from taking a moment in his head to thank whatever he wants to thank...

    If she really did mean no prayers AT ALL, I would talk to the principal/school official to find out what the school's actual policy is, and to take whatever action you feel necessary.

    Answer by thalassa at 10:12 AM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • They should be able to say a prayer to themselves. I dont think it would hurt...cant imagine him getting in trouble for that!!! Its his right to say it, I guess they just dont want them outloud. I thought the teacher's just cant lead a prayer.

    Answer by ria7 at 9:56 AM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • They can't pray out loud (as in, leading the table in prayer out loud). Call the teacher and ask her exactly what was said (kids don't always pick up on details) and if she did say it the way your child thinks, ask her to clarify that. They have no right to tell your son he can't pray to himself, but it is also their job to keep other kids from feeling pressured into doing something they don't believe in.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 10:05 AM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • Your child's teacher should not have mentioned prayer at all. Your child is free to pray silently if he wants to, schools would like to tell our children what to think or not think at all times, but they can't. The teacher is not to be discussing religion in any form outside of a history or social studies lesson. I would imagine that as Thalassa mentions, she probably meant that if they are accustomed to praying before a meal, they need to learn that it is not shared at school, so any prayers should be silent & personal.

    Answer by nysa00 at 11:29 AM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • If you are in the US of A , it sounds like the teacher and more likely the school district hasn't a clue what the law is. Research the law and be armed with knowledge before confronting the school.

    Answer by isabellalecour at 12:01 PM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • More than likely the teacher was merely stating don't pray outloud. I don't see how anybody would even know if someone is praying if the prayer is silent.

    Answer by JewelzMeow at 12:43 PM on Aug. 25, 2009

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