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Ms. Magnolia

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Ms. Magnolia, These days there is so much to-do about not doing anything religious in school, but I want my grandchildren to know that their faith isn’t supposed to end at the church door. How can they practice their faith at school without getting into trouble and without being criticized or bullied? Worried Grandmother

Dear Grandmother, The government website entitled “Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer and Religious Expression in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools” as of January 16, 2020, states that “The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the First Amendment requires public school officials to show neither fa voritism toward nor hostility against religious expression such as prayer.”

It further states that to receive federal funds, each local school must certify in writing that the school has no policy that prevents or denies participation in constitutionally protected prayer in public elementary and secondary schools. But, on the other hand, schools cannot require prayer or participation in religious practices.

It also enumerates that students can pray, read the Bible or other religious material, and talk about faith at school; organize prayer groups and religious clubs and announce the meetings; express faith in artwork, class work and homework; express faith at their graduation ceremony; and pass out religious literature at school. Schools can accommodate religious instruction and prayer during school, and educators can pray and teach about religion at school.

If you have other questions, you can contact nonprofit religious at torneys at various law firms such as American Center for Law and Justice, Alliance Defending Freedom, and First Liberty and see their websites.

If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to [email protected]

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