You know how praying in schools is perfectly legal? Because it is. And no atheist group would even think about taking that right away from students who pray privately or in a non-disruptive way.
But that didn’t stop the North Carolina General Assembly from unanimously passing Senate Bill 370 yesterday. SB 370 is a Republican-sponsored bill that “clarif[ies] student rights to engage in prayer and religious activity in school.” As if people were trying to put a stop to that…
Senate Bill 370, which now heads to the House, would allow students to pray silently at any time or out loud during non-instructional time as long as the prayer is initiated by students — not teachers or staff — and nobody is forced to participate. Also, any school employees present during a student prayer would be encouraged to “adopt a respectful posture.”
Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, said teachers and school administrators are so confused by laws on school prayer that a McDowell County student was ordered to delete a portion of her poem where she described her late grandfather praying.
“This act is an attempt to clarify statewide that students do have the right to express in manners as they otherwise would their religious affiliations,” Hise said. “It also tends to clarify that faculty members aren’t required, as they felt they were under other policies, to be hostile to those expressions.”
Really? A student was told to not describe her late grandfather praying? Why would anyone tell her that?! Maybe because she was going to read it at an assembly which could’ve been a problem. Hise never mentioned that.
Anyway, at first glance, there’s really nothing in the bill that shouldn’t be there — no attempt to sneak Christian proselytizing into the public schools under the guise of protecting religious liberties. It’s just a meaningless bill since these laws are already in place and make sense to people who take the time to actually read and understand them.
North Carolina, by the way, is the same state where House Republicans tried to establish a state religion last month. So if anyone needs to be reminded of what the law says, it’s the House, where this bill is headed to next.
(image via Shutterstock — Thanks to Richard for the link)