published Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Tennessee bill allows school personnel to participate in prayer

The Senate has passed a proposal that would allow school personnel to participate in student-initiated religious activities on school grounds.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Jim Summerville of Dickson was approved 29-1 today. The companion bill unanimously passed the House 93-0 earlier this month.

The proposal allows school personnel to participate in such activities as long as they don't carry into the classroom or conflict with the assignments of the participant.

Sponsors of the bill brought it in part to support a practice by students and parents who gather around schoolyard flagpoles to pray.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has said such prayer events are within the law as long as they are initiated and led by students.

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