Prayer is Still Constitutionally Protected Even for Teachers in Schools
It may surprise you to know that not all prayer in school is forbidden in America. In fact, we just helped secure a significant victory for one teacher who simply wanted to pray before the school day started.
We, at the ACLJ, are excited to celebrate a victory in a recent religious liberty situation. In this specific instance, a high school art teacher in Fenton, Illinois, wanted to have a monthly prayer meeting during free time. School staff and parents had participated in the National Day of Prayer for fourteen years, and some teachers and parents wanted to meet on a monthly basis before or after school hours to pray for students and the school.
However, the superintendent and principal notified the teacher that she could not hold prayer meetings on school property, demanding that the teacher must cancel her next scheduled meeting.
Surprised by such a demand, she immediately contacted the ACLJ through our online legal help request form. We informed her that the law allows her to pray or study the Bible during her free time if it does not conflict with her job responsibilities. We also explained to her that, while teachers may not be able to invite parents for prayer, parents should be allowed to meet on school property on an equal access basis as an outside group.
Empowered by this information, she met with the school officials over the course of several weeks and eventually achieved the school administration’s compliance with the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s laws. She was allowed to have a prayer meeting before school hours. Interested parents of students can do the same and use school facilities for prayer on an equal basis as an outside group.
We are encouraged and pleased to hear stories of success such as this one. We thank you for your support and prayers for the ACLJ, which enable us to help defend Constitutional freedoms and empower individuals with information to stand up for their rights.
As the Supreme Court has famously held, “[N]either students [n]or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” Today, that fundamental freedom remains in place.