The topic of prayer in public schools can lead to some passionate opinions. The pledge of allegiance's reference to "one nation, under God" has been largely done away with. So where has the prayer debate landed?
Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, Delaware law has the final say. So what does the law have to say on the matter? Here's a quick overview of prayer in public school law in Delaware.
Prayer in Public Schools
Prayer in public schools has been the subject of heated debate for quite some time, pitting two parts of the First Amendment against each other: the Establishment Clause versus the Freedom of Speech Clause. While some states offer no statutory guidance, others with broad school prayer protections have faced challenges in court. States can have varying prayer in public schools laws, and Delaware's specifically allows for up to two minutes of silent prayer or meditation.
Prayer in Public Schools Laws in Delaware
Learn more about school prayer and Delaware law with the table and links below.
|Applicable Code Section||Tit. 14 §4101,|
|What is Allowed?||A brief period of silence not to exceed two minutes to be used according to dictates of individual student's conscience. First Amendment read to students on first day.|
Delaware’s school prayer statute is known as a "two minutes of silent meditation" law, which is allowed so long as the state (in the form of the school or school staff) doesn't impose any pressure on students to pray or engage in any kind of religious activity.
Delaware's statute states this time is for mediation, and not for religious service or exercise. Students must be allowed to meditate silently, on a religious theme or not. It's important to note that once a teacher or school official suggests that any moment of silence should be used for religious prayer, the activity is then considered to advance religion and is unconstitutional.
Even with clear instructions from courts regarding these silent periods, schools and parents continue to debate the other kinds of religious activities allowed in public schools. Some examples of allowable practices include use of school facilities by religious groups, permission for student-organized religious groups to meet on school property before and after the school day, and individual students praying during the day (as long as they don’t disrupt educational activities).
Delaware Prayer in Public Schools Laws: Related Resources
Deciphering how the legal and education systems deal with religion can be a complex endeavor. If you would like legal assistance with a school prayer case, you can contact a Delaware education attorney to discuss your case. You can also visit FindLaw's Religion at School section for additional articles and resources on this topic.
Contact a qualified attorney.