Philly weighs student-led prayer in public schools

    Philadelphia City Council intends to hold hearings on facilitating student-led prayer in the public schools.

    Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said she’s often asked to investigate just how students in the city’s public schools can pray in an organized way.

    “We have problems because of the lack of prayer in school and we need to focus on it,” she said. “Our understanding is if youth come up with a way and if youth say they want the opportunity for expression of religion in their own way, that it will be all right.”

    The councilwoman said the hearing will review the school district’s existing policy of religious expression and what court rulings allow.

    “We want to see if it needs to be amended and, certainly, let the citizens of our city know that that issue does exist and that there is a way that people can have free religious expression in schools and go from there,” she said.

    Blackwell said that by focusing on student-led prayer, the district can avoid endorsing specific religions or denominations.


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