Public Schools Can't Continue to Stop Prayer
by Jim Brown
(AgapePress) - The leader of a Christian educators' group says contrary to politically correct wisdom, prayer on public school grounds is not an illegal activity.
Under new guidelines issued recently by Education Secretary Rod Paige, schools that do not allow students to pray outside the classroom could lose federal funding. Those guidelines also require each school district to certify annually, in writing, that its policies do not prevent or deny participation in constitutionally protected prayer.
Forrest Turpen of Christian Educators Association International says the guidelines help to dispel the myth that God has been ruled out of public schools since 1963.
"There's legislation [that examines] the Constitution and the First Amendment, which clarifies significantly that while there is the concept or the idea that the schools of the state can't promote religion or prayer, they certainly can't hinder students and teachers from living out their faith in a public school setting," he explains.
Turpen says secularists have been exploiting the confusion over school prayer for a long time, but now Secretary Paige has brought "brilliant clarity" to the situation. Adding that vigilance is needed, he urges teachers and families to report schools that are not abiding by the new federal guidelines.
"Parents, students, the Church need to be sure that if they know that schools are not allowing that constitutionally protected prayer, they need to call the federal government, the Department of Education, and let them know that this is happening," Turpen says. "That's a significant step that we need to be taking."
Turpen says moms, dads, and teachers should get a copy of the guidance on constitutionally protected prayer so the school community will be made aware of what the law says.