It must be because another school year has just started, but the West Point News has received — from three different sources — a poem that the sender wanted published. The poem makes reference to prayer being banned in public school.
We have elected not to publish the poem for two reasons, the first being we generally say no to poems, and the second being that the poem is inaccurate in several instances.
It’s also about someone wanting to make a point without actually making a point. In other words, it’s an issue that bothers them, but rather than putting their name on a letter to the editor they want us to publish a poem that was written by “anonymous.”
An expert on the school prayer law I’m not, but I can say with accuracy that praying in school is not against the law. In fact, the U.S. Constitution guarantees students the right to pray in public schools. It’s actually a protected form of free speech.
I can tell you that both of my daughters sent up a few prayers during their school days at the local public school. And without asking, I’m sure my wife, who teaches at the public school, will say she’s also said a few prayers in school. She can even read the Bible during her lunch hour or planning period. What she can’t do is lead a group of students in prayer, or endorse Christianity over any other religion.
The Supreme Court has never ruled that students or teachers can’t pray in school. The government (in this case, the school) just can’t tell students when to pray, what to pray, or whom to pray to.
A student can pray anywhere he/she wants on school property. They can even pray at a student-run Bible club.
Another misconception is that the Bible is banned from public schools. The U.S. Constitution protects students’ freedom of speech, and they can quote freely from the Bible in their essays and projects.
They can even carry a Bible with them as they walk the halls and attend classes.
I pray that this ends some of the misinformation about prayer not being allowed in public schools.