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School Prayer in the Curriculum: Case Law

  • By: John Pijanowski
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

Case law regarding school prayer provides direction for understanding the constitutional boundaries of both staff- and student-initiated religious speech. Under most circumstances, prayer as part of the school curriculum is illegal. Several legal challenges to prayer in schools have helped define the role of prayer in public school curricular and extracurricular settings. School officials may allow private prayer by providing a moment of silence as a structured feature of the school day. Moments of silence provisions, however, have met with mixed success when challenged in court. As the study of curriculum history shows, the evolution of public schooling from teaching religious-based literacy to a comprehensive curriculum was challenged in classrooms and courthouses. The role of prayer in the curriculum continues to be a source of ...

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