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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Prayer During Public School Activities

Volume 4 . Chapter 14 . § 14-03
Key point 14-03. The First Amendment prohibits the recitation of prayers by school officials and clergy in public schools or at public school events, including graduation ceremonies and sports activities. However, some courts have allowed student-initiated prayers during such events.

A number of Supreme Court decisions addressing prayer on public property are reviewed in chapter 12. The issue of student-initiated religious activities on public school property is addressed in section 14-07.

1. Prayers at Public School Graduation Ceremonies

A number of federal courts have addressed the question of whether prayers at public school graduation ceremonies violate the First Amendment's nonestablishment of religion clause. Illustrative cases are summarized ...

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