A few months ago, the Illinois legislature had passed a law requiring public schools to observe a moment of silence in the classroom.
The law was called the “Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act.”
Atheists Rob Sherman and his daughter Dawn Sherman filed a lawsuit against the bill leading to an injunction.
We’ve been in limbo regarding the law until now…
But there’s finally some good news to report!
A new version of the law — stripped of the “prayer” reference and making the moment of silence optional for educators — was voted on in the Illinois House today.
1 AN ACT concerning education.
2 Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3 represented in the General Assembly:
4 Section 5. The Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act is
5 amended by changing Sections 0.01 and 1 as follows:
6 (105 ILCS 20/0.01) (from Ch. 122, par. 770)
7 Sec. 0.01. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
8 Student Silent Reflection
and Student PrayerAct.
9 (Source: P.A. 92-832, eff. 1-1-03.)
10 (105 ILCS 20/1) (from Ch. 122, par. 771)
11 Sec. 1. In each public school classroom, the teacher in
12 charge may conduct
shall observea brief period of silence with
13 the participation of all the pupils therein assembled at the
14 opening of every school day. This period shall not be conducted
15 as a religious exercise but shall be an opportunity
prayer orfor such silent reflection as may be desired by each
17 individual pupil
on the anticipated activities of the day.
18 (Source: P.A. 95-680, eff. 10-11-07.)
19 Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
20 becoming law.
Much better, I say.
This version of the bill passed (PDF) in the Illinois House: 72-31 (6 voted “Present”).
That is some welcome news for those of us who saw this mandatory moment of silence as a waste of time and a manipulative way to force religion into the classroom.
The bill now goes to the Illinois Senate. It won’t have an easy path there, but the new version should pass regardless.
[tags]atheist, atheism, HB 4180[/tags]