Prayer in Public Schools


    Prayer in the public school system has been a very controversial issue for over 30 years.   The controversy itself is not in the prayers of the individual students but in whether the leaders of the schools, the teachers, administrators and other officials should have the ability to lead a prayer in their school.   This country was founded on the belief in God.   “One nation under God”, “In God we Trust”, so why are we as Americans allowing a select few to take away our privilege to pray.  
    The U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to have a state-sponsored school prayer in the Engel v. Vitale court case. The Board of Education of Union Free School District No. 9 had decided to have their principal instruct the educators to recite a prayer aloud in class every morning.   It wasn’t long before the parents of approximately 10 students appeared with a law suit.   Their claims for the case were that the prayer had conflicting areas in relationship to their personal beliefs and religion, as well as their children.   The case was initially turned away because the school did not require any of the students to recite the prayer.   After being turned away by the lower court, the parents filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.   The court case generated a large amount of interest from around the country.   The defendant in the case, The Board of Education, had two very strong arguments in the case.   The first argument was that the prayer was worded so simply that it was not like an ordinary prayer.   The prayer was designed to recognize the country’s “spiritual heritage”, since this country was built on the belief in God.   There was no rule at the school that required full participation by any student.   The students were free to leave the room during the prayer, or simply sit quietly at their desk during the prayer, but no grade or comment by the teacher was allowed.   After the court heard the cases from both sides the ruling came in favor of the...