Honors English 9
25 February 2015
Prayer in Public Schools The debate of allowing the practice of religious prayer in the public schools has been around since schools started allowing students of many religions to enroll in their school. Prayer in schools was deemed unconstitutional due to the separation of Church and State, because the State funds public schools. Prayer in schools that is conducted by a teacher, principal, or other school staff is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of Church and State, threatens the religious opinions of the students that were brought on by their parents, and because it offends most of the student’s religious ideas and shouldn’t be allowed in public schools. …show more content…
Of course, if the child wants to change their faith later in life, that’s up to them, but in elementary school, children are very impressionable. If their teacher makes them participate in a religious activity that isn’t part of their religion, the child is going to start believing the teacher and stop believing in whatever religion that they are a part of. When the child starts to reject their faith at home, the parents will question what the school is teaching their …show more content…
If a teacher organizes a religious activity, and a student’s personal religion isn’t involved, they are going to believe that their religion isn’t a priority, and that they aren’t a priority in the school. This could also make their parent’s angry, and when their parents are angry, they will try and challenge the school by either protests or a lawsuit, which are both distracting to the students and cost money to the school. The most important function of a school is to educate students and to help make them feel accepted, and both functions of a school can be disrupted if religious activities are allowed in public schools. It could disrupt the students’ studies, and not including a student’s religion can make them feel unaccepted.
Religious activities, such as prayer, that promote the beliefs of one religion shouldn’t be sponsored, organized, or encouraged by school personnel because it is unconstitutional and violates the religious beliefs of students from different religions. The debate of prayer in public schools has been around for a long time, but when people understand that the students have all the rights they need, then the debate will be
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Engel v. Vitale: Prayer in the Public Schools is a book written by Julia C. Loren. Loren’s main purpose for writing this book is to inform us about the history of the Engel v. Vitale trial, an important trial which determined that prayer was not acceptable in the public schools quote as the book says the “In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down one of its most controversial decisions of the twentieth century.” In this book, Loren was not bias towards either Engel’s or Vitale’s side of the case as she did not appear to be very fond of one particular side and gave information regarding both sides of the case. With that being said, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history or even the Engel v. Vitale case itself because the author was very straightforward in telling about both sides of the case without leaving anything out. Engel v. Vitale:
an you imagine yourself having to start your daily school routine with a prayer? This became a serious question to be taken up by the Supreme Court of the US, in November of 1951. Following an increase in in juvenile crime (many believe caused by the Korean War). The New York Board of Regents adopted a prayer to be recited in NY public schools (Dierenfield 67). The prayer was established because “...the regents believed that such a program would ensure that school children would acquire ‘respect for lawful authority and obedience to law’ ”
A group takes a stand against the merging of church and school, in the Engel vs. Vitale court case, causing an outrage among the population of America. The Engel vs. Vitale court case was seen as a landmark in U.S Supreme Court cases, due to the case causing a significant disturbance in America, that ruled school-sponsored prayers to be in violation of The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The U.S Supreme Court is known as the highest federal court in the United States, which also means that the Engel vs. Vitale court case had to have been heard at least one other time before reaching the Supreme Court. In the Supreme Court case, Engel vs. Vitale, a group of parents sued their children’s public school due to a New York State law
In 1951, the following prayer was written that was intended to be recited each morning as part of the regents’ Statement of Moral and Spiritual Training in the Schools: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.” Because the regents made the recitation of the prayer each day entirely optional to the school boards and the individual families of students, many New York school districts shunned the prayer because of their eclectic student bodies. Not only was the state religiously and ethnically diverse, but religious instruction in state schools was declared unconstitutional by the 1948 Supreme Court decision in the McCollum vs. Board of Education case. Because of the constantly increasing controversy about religious teaching in public schools, at least 90% of New York districts were not using the prayer by the late 1950s. Then, in 1958, five parents (of varying religions and ethnicities) of students within the district filed a lawsuit to stop the use of the prayer in their schools.
Vitale,” n.d.). The final hearing was in favor of Engel in a 6-1 decision. The prayer may have been nondenominational and voluntary, however, it still promotes religion in school. “This was the first in a series of cases in which the Court used the establishment clause to eliminate religious activities of all sorts, which had traditionally been a part of public ceremonies” (“Engel v. Vitale,” n.p.). This is a significant court case in that many Americans still believe that religion and prayer should play a role in school.
• Civil liberty are citizen’s freedom to exercise customary rights such as freedom of speech without government interference. • In U.S. this right are guaranteed by the laws of the country commonly known as the Bill of Rights. • For instance the government in U.S cannot interfere in an individuals freedom of worship or freedom of speech. • Civil liberties are rooted in the Bills of Rights which limits the power of the government. • Civil liberty are established for the good of the community.
As we all know today’s school are a lot different than those in the 1960’s. During the 1960’s is was tradition to open each and every day with a nondenominational prayer, along with the Pledge of Allegiance. Today, prayer is accepted in schools as long as it is led by the student themselves, and not the teacher. In 1962 the case of Engel vs. Vitale went to the Supreme Court based off the idea of whether school sponsored prayer violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause. At this time there was a general law in New York State that required every school within the state to open each day with the Pledge of Allegiance, and a prayer that did not restrict denomination.
A Gallup survey also revealed that 77% of American support public school facilities being available after hours for student religious groups to use. All of this evidence reveals that majority of the American people support prayer in public school. Therefore, not allowing prayer in public schools is tyranny of the
Public school funding Increasing school funding is very important in today’s future American students. Education should be one of the top priorities in the United States to make sure every student has the same opportunity to get the same great education. Increasing public school funding be beneficial for outdated textbooks, lack of technology, and increases more resources for students. These resources would be crucial of generating students of America. These students are the workers, leaders, and inspirations of future America.
“Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice, it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.” ― G.K. Chesterton Many occasions in the United States history have shown that religion has caused many controversial questions. These questions have brought the American Justice System to a running halt, leading society to begin to ponder about the importance of freedom of religion, true meanings of the free exercise and establishment clause, and if there should be limitations imposed on the free exercise of one’s religious beliefs.
No matter where you are in the United States religion in schools will always be an issue. Once school districts allow religion to be in schools there will ne following arguments that will occur. A major problem being that you can not just allow one religion. Christianity can not be the only religion you allow. Different religions practice there religions differently.
Education Reforms Education reform is legislation to improve the quality of education in the United States. Once, grades were the most important achievement for students. However, politicians and the public were concerned that our standardized test scores were not as good as those of other countries. Therefore, state and national governments started making laws to make school more challenging and to test kids more. One of those laws was “No Child Left Behind”.
Since the early 20th Century, prayer in school has been a huge argument, and is still one of the most heated arguments in today’s society. The debate came about in 1948, when the Supreme Court handed down its first decision on the issue of religion in public schools, ruling in McCollum v Board of Education that it is unconstitutional to conduct religious education within public school buildings (Cohen par. 5). Many people stated that principals did not want the non-Christian students to feel uncomfortable, but did they ever think that not praying in schools could make the Christians students uncomfortable? Not letting students pray in school violates the 1st Amendment.
Rights and Responsibility of a U.S Citizen Though people often confuse the rights and responsibilities of a citizen, they are both two different things. According to Brainpop (n. d.) “a right is a freedom that is protected, such as the right to free speech and religion. A responsibility is a duty or something you should do, such as recycling or doing your homework.” The difference can therefore be observed in the fact that the right is something the law protects you with, while the responsibility is something the law requires you to fulfill. The right should not make someone forget that they have responsibilities.