Prayer Billy Graham and Cardinal Francis Spellman, differed

Prayer in school provides several benefits and aids the next generation of people to gain a moral foundation when they come into society. Prayer allows young people to acknowledge their thoughts and supports them to find different ways to manage the difficult situations in life. Throughout the years, numerous cases have been presented to the court about prayer in school. In addition, the court has established different restrictions on school-sponsored prayer and other religious practices that occurred during the school day. Since then, academic performances and people’s morals continue to be on a steady decline.For approximately two hundred years before school-sponsored prayer was judged as unconstitutional, prayer could have been observed in public schools all over the United States. (Eliassin) Teachers taught religious principles, conducted prayer and read out of the Bible. (Meador) It was normal to walk into a school and witness those concepts being practiced. Not to mention, parents, and guardians supported the idea that their children would have the opportunity to pray at school and encouraged it to happen. (Meador)  After the Engel v. Vitale case in 1962, prayer in school became less common. Throughout the twentieth century, however, people made many attempts to revive prayer in school. (Waggoner)Over the last fifty years, several court cases have occurred regarding prayer in school, and they have shaped our understanding of the First Amendment. (Meador) Before the Engel v. Vitale case, which happened on June 25, 1962, the McCollum v. Board of Education case was presented to the court. (Waggoner) This case ruled that religious actions in public schools were unlawful because it violated the Establishment Clause. (Meador) Fourteen years later, the landmark case, Engel v. Vitale, went to the Supreme Court. As a result, it was determined that an official prayer led by the employees at a public school and encouragement to recite the prayer was unconstitutional. (Meador) This ruling affected all public schools in the United States, which ninety percent of children in the country attend. (Chilson)  Many people did not agree with the outcome of those cases, and their reactions were urgent and extreme. For example, conservatives, Billy Graham and Cardinal Francis Spellman, differed from the decisions made by the court and sought to put prayer back into schools. (Waggoner) Also, Jennifer LaClaire wrote that the decision to remove prayer from public schools in 1962 was unpopular then, and it is unpopular now. (Chilson)After the rulings of those cases, public schools started to put those changes into effect. Public schools removed school-sponsored prayer and stopped teaching religious principles. Since then, more restrictions have come into existence. (Chilson) In the case, Wallace v. Jaffree, the state’s act of requiring a moment of silence was challenged. In the event, the court ruled it unconstitutional and claimed it encouraged prayer. (Meador) Another case, Lee v. Weisman, restricted a clergy member to carry out a non-denominational prayer at a school graduation ceremony. (Meador) Also, the Santa Fe Independent School District v. Poe case restrained a school’s loudspeaker system to be used for student-led or student-initiated prayer. (Meador) These cases limited the freedom that schools had over prayer and several effects developed from it. Removal of prayer had many poor results in different situations. Since prayer was eliminated from public schools, the condition of education has displayed a steady statistical decline. (Hovind) For example, school violence has been on an increase. In 2007, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that 5.9 percent of students carry weapons to school, 7.8 percent have been threatened or injured on campus and 12.4 percent of students have been in a physical fight on school property at least once. (Eliassin) Another effect includes declining SAT scores. SAT scores have dropped by eighty points since the decision to remove prayer was decided. (Hovind) School proficiency, however, has not been the only thing affected by the removal of prayer. A former secretary of education, William Bennett, believes that there is a strong correlation between the removal of prayer from schools and the decline in morality. He published that between 1960 and 1990 divorce doubled, the teenage pregnancy rate went up by 200 percent, teen suicide increased by 300 percent and violent crime went up by 500 percent. (Eliassin) In short, many things have been affected by the removal of prayer.Even though many cases regarding school-sponsored prayer dealt with several things to restrict prayer in school, some cases fought to have more flexibility for religious activities. To begin with, the Lemon v. Kurtzman case made a three-part system called the Lemon Test. The three statements in this system include that a law about religion must have a secular purpose, the main effect of the law cannot prevent or promote religion, and it cannot result in a tie with government and religious authority. This test determines if a government action concerning religion is considered unconstitutional. If any of these rules are violated the government action is refused. (Meador) Another case, Westside Community Board of Education v. Mergens, allowed some freedom for prayer in school. It granted religious student groups the right to meet on school property to pray and worship if other groups were allowed to gather on school grounds. (Meador) In some states, bills have passed to allow students to have more freedom when dealing with religion. For instance, Tennessee passed a bill called the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act. This bill allows students to state and practice their religion in schools. Similar bills have been established in Texas and South Carolina. (Chilson) To conclude, some cases and bills have helped students exercise their religion more openly.While school-sponsored prayer has been removed from schools, individual and quiet prayer during school has not been eliminated and prayer has noticeable benefits. Several of these benefits can guide young people through the hardships of school life. An outcome of prayer is concentration. Prayer influences discrete thinking, which results in better focusing. (Ghosh) Also, prayer helps relieve stress, calm fears and reduce anxiety by focusing those emotions in prayer. (Eliassin) Sincere prayer can give a sense of optimism, which can help people consider life and balance situations. Likewise, confidence can be another result of praying. (Ghosh) Cardiologist, Randolph Byrd, performed a study on the effects of prayer in April 1982 through May 1983. (Eliassin) He found that praying on a regular basis can have an enormous effect on the psyche of an individual by stabilizing their mood, giving them a feeling of well-being, improving how they interact with others and positively changing the way they conduct themselves. (Eliassin) Therefore, prayer in school has many psychological, physical and emotional advantages.In conclusion, prayer in school is one of the most controversial issues and has been, repeatedly, brought up to the court. While it has been restricted in many different areas, school proficiency and people’s morals have declined. However, prayer in school can have a lasting impact on young people’s lives. Prayer can help students embrace the difficult circumstances they are faced with and prepare them physically and mentally for whatever happens. Prayer in school provides several benefits and aids the next generation of people to gain a moral foundation when they come into society.