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Michigan Prayer in Public Schools Laws

Few topics can divide Michiganders quite like the issue of prayer in public schools. Whichever side you agree with, if you have kids in school you’ll want to know how the Great Lakes State deals with the matter. This article can provide a quick summary of prayer in public school law in Michigan.

Prayer in Public Schools

Prayer in public schools, which is a secular institution, has long been a hot topic for debate. On one hand, students should be free to pray as they choose fit; but public schools must be very careful not to recognize any one religion or otherwise promote faith in schools. In Michigan, prayer in public schools is not explicitly protected -- but the state does allow an opportunity to observe time in silent meditation. Below you will find information on school prayer and related topics.

Prayer in Public Schools Laws in Michigan

Applicable Code Section

§380.1565

What is Allowed?

Opportunity to observe time in silent meditation

Michigan’s silent meditation, or "minute of silence" law, is permissible if school staff refrain from applying any pressure on students to pray or engage in any kind of religious activity. As long as students are allowed to meditate, read, study, or contemplate anything they want during the silent time, courts will generally allow it. Schools may also observe minutes of silence to recognize a community tragedies, such as the death of one of a fellow student. Parents and teachers should note, however, that courts will consider the activity to advance religion and likely find it unconstitutional once a teacher suggests that the minute of silence should be used for prayer.

The law regarding minutes of silence may seem clear enough, but debates can still exist about what other kinds of religious activities allowed in public schools. As long as they don’t disrupt educational activities, the use of school facilities by religious groups and individual students praying during the day are generally allowed. Schools may also grant permission for student-organized religious groups to meet on school property before and after the school day.

Michigan Prayer in Public Schools Laws: Related Resources

Religion and schools have had a legally complicated relationship and laws on the subject can change. You can do additional research on this topic by visiting FindLaw's Religion at School section. If you would like legal advice, you can contact a Michigan education attorney to discuss your case.

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