My 6 year old daughter's teacher tells the class to pray during the morning announcements. My daughter says they are told to put their heads down on their desk and pray for their families and friends. Considering she goes to public school, I am quite angry.

I decided my immediate approach will be to talk to the teacher about it but I don't know how to do it tactfully. Every time I think I do, I get pissed all over again. (I will NOT mention my personal beliefs because I feel they are irrelevant to the situation.) My boyfriend thinks I should use the approach of saying "I believe that prayer is a personal thing, and I don't believe that it's an appropriate activity for a public classroom of learning" or something like that. What do you guys think?

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According to http://www.religioustolerance.org/ps_pra9.htm you are on the right side of the law and have right to get her to stop. Shes breaking the law. You can sue if she doesnt stop or if she singles your kid out to blame for the lack of prayer sessions going on.

"The one place where prayer is not normally permitted is in the classroom itself when a class is in session. The latter would violate the principle of church-state separation which is defined by court interpretations of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution"

If this is just between you and the teacher and the principal how can it get out? I'm just wondering. I dont exactly know the sociology of small religious Texas towns or the racial element in them. I live in CO and am all too familiar with the Focus on the Family evangelical nonsense though! You might also want to document the teachers behavior for added proof in case it goes to the court.
Being the only few people of any radical difference from the norm is hard. I'm with you in spirit, however you decide to handle this. Maybe try the ACLU? The school is violating your civil liberties to raise your child according to your ethics.
Contact the Freedom from Religion Foundation - this is right up their alley.

Email: info at ffrf dot org

or Phone: 608-256-8900 (9-5 CST)
This is the best advice, contacting the FFRF.

They can file a complaint on your behalf while keeping you anonymous, and as Kristy says this is right up their alley, this kind of stuff is the reason they exist in the first place.
You know, I doubt it would even come to filing a complaint in any official legal capacity. My bet is that the FFRF would have one of their legal team contact the school, alert them to the fact that a teacher is breaching the law, and remind them that if it continues, legal action can be taken. That's probably all it would take - just one little phone call from the right people with the right 'big guns' to back them up.
I'm a member of FFRF. We've contacted them in the past regarding church/state violations. They made sure to follow up with us in order to get all of the information needed to look into the situation. If you haven't already, I urge you and anyone else in a similar situation to contact them. I have family in Texas, and I can say with certainty that the level of religiousity down there is a bit frightening. I wish you the best of luck. :)
Keia,

My heart goes out to you.

What strikes me the strongest is your statement, "I am nervous because I live in a tiny religious town in Texas and I am literally one of the only Black people around.". Not to mention, not a Christian. There is no sense in being a martyr, in fact, possibly no benefit from that. But you also want your daughter, not to be indoctrinated. You have that right.

I think that Kristy's answer makes the most sense. Plus, when you speak to them, tell them that you are in a small Texas town, and you do feel fearful about the repercussions if you are 'outed' as a nonbeleiver, and that you think you are the only Black person in the tiny religious town.

Menawhile, there are some online groups on Atheist Nexus, about parenting without religion, and living in the Bible belt. These may help you feel more supported, not so alone. If you are not already in those groups, it might pay to join them and post your question there as well.
I seriously doubt there is any tactful way that you can tell this teacher that will get the results you are hoping for. They already know that what they are doing is unlawful. IMO, the best way to do it is to contact the principle and let them know that the teacher is instructing students to pray in class. I doubt you will have to say much more. The principle is being paid to deal with this and the teacher won't be confrontational with the person who can fire them. If the principle is unsympathetic, don't waste your time with them. Do what Kristy suggests, let the FFRF know. Very few schools, even Bible-belt schools, want to the publicity of conflist with the FFRF.
In the wikipedia link I just posted below, there was "...Lee v. Weisman, in turn, was a basis for Santa Fe ISD v. Doe (2000), in which the Court extended the ban to school sanctioning of student-led prayer at high school football games."

Seems student-led, but is the school sanctioning this flag pole prayer?
Maybe you should start a separate thread on this to get more input.
You obviously must weigh the safety and well being of your family over any backlash you may receive from your community if you push on this. However, be assured the US Constitution and many Supreme Court rulings since the early 60's are on your side. You can read up on some background here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engel_v._Vitale

Take up Kristy's suggestion on contacting the FFRF. They can help or at least point you in the right direction. Laws are designed to protect the rights of the few from the tyranny of the majority. Of course that's easy for me to say sitting here in the fairly godless, liberal state of Massachusetts. Good Luck.
This is a list of other Secularist Organizations that may be able to help or give advice.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_secularist_organizations#Unite...

But the FFRF is most likely the best starting place.

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