Thursday, October 18, 2007

Moment of Silence? or Prayer?

What's up with a return of the "prayer in schools" debate? I thought this was over, that we had certainly determined that prayer was not allowed in public education. So...this week the Illinois legistature overrode the governor's veto of a measure that mandates a moment of silence in public schools. My own son is in the public schools, and while the measure will not take effect until it is signed into law, I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about it.

On the one hand, I can't imagine what a "moment of silence" will look like in a kindergarten classroom. They're never quiet!

But on the other, it does seem just one small step away from school prayer.

What do you think?

In related news, a teenager in Texas has been banned from his school because of violation of the dress code. His religion, Rastafarianism, tells him to keep his hair long and dreadlocked, which violates the school's rules. So he's been segregated from the other students until he complies.

The school says his religion "doesn't count." Are they allowed to do that? What if they decided that Judaism "didn't count"?

Definitely check out this book: The Baptizing of America by Rabbi James Rudin. An interesting read that will probably scare you crazy. He spoke a few years ago at Am Shalom, and let me tell you, it makes you wonder....

So...I ask again...what do you think? Prayer in schools? Haircuts for all? Can't wait to read your comments...


therapydoc said...

Wait a minute. Silence is definitely not the same thing as prayer. Most kids will text message during their silence. Or think about what they're going to text.

I kind of like the idea. It also teaches kids the value of psychological space.

But if it's presented as: Here's time to think about communing with the Big Guy (Woman) in the Sky, we have a problem, indeed.

Petula Wright said...

I agree with therapydoc: Silence isn't the same thing as prayer and I think it's a great way to allow each individual student to do what feels comfortable to them without imposing their views on someone else.

I'm apalled at the school that's trying to get the Rasta to cut his hair. Since when does one religion "not count?" Scary!!

Great post!

Activities Coordinator said...

My mother was a public school teacher (6th grade). She said she missed the MOMENT OF SILENCE when it was taken out because it was the only moment of silence she got the whole day.