Here in Illinois, the state mandates that we have a Moment of Silence in the classroom every day. (At my school, we do it over the loudspeakers during morning announcements.)
That law was called the “Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act” until state officials revised its name to make it less Christian-y. It’s unenforceable and there’s no penalty for not doing it… but it’s still part of the law.
Anyway, local activist Rob Sherman and his daughter Dawn have been fighting this law ever since its inception in 2007.
They got it overturned in 2009… temporarily.
A year ago, in October, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit said that the moment of silence was constitutional since “the measure did not specify that the silent time be spent in prayer.”
The only recourse was to appeal the Seventh Circuit’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Which Sherman did…
Yesterday, we found out that the Supreme Court denied hearing the case (PDF). They’re going to let the lower court’s decision stand.
Sherman has a few suggestions for how to overturn the law, though:
It just means that it’s time to ignore the courts and the legislature and take the law into our own hands. That is done by persuading school districts to blow off the law, since nothing will happen to them if they do, and by coercing the Illinois General Assembly to repeal the law or amend it by making it optional.
He’s totally right… but none of those options is going to happen anytime soon. As it stands, every teacher in the state has to continue wasting a few seconds at the beginning of each day, standing around and doing nothing, because a group of Christians legislators decided that silence is better than allowing teachers to get started with their daily routine.