Quiet Riot

All Is Not Quiet in Illinois

By Alexander Russo

The Illinois state legislature’s recent passage of a moment of silence law has reignited one of public education’s most longstanding and contentious issues—what to do about prayer in schools. It didn’t take long for the law to get challenged.

In November, a U.S. District Court blocked the Illinois state superintendent from punishing districts that don’t comply. Meanwhile, a federal judge ruled in January that Texas students will be allowed to pray at the beginning of the school day. Appeals are sure to follow. Just who can do what when it comes to silence in schools gets complicated. According to the researchers at Stateline.org , at least a dozen states have imposed mandatory moments of silence while almost two dozen others allow a moment of silence at the discretion of the teacher or district.

All of the legal wrangling has left many districts in a sort of purgatory, waiting to see how the decisions ultimately affect underlying laws, while others are trying to figure out just how long a “moment” is.