Officials in Arkansas have addressed school prayer in and out of court. Threats of lawsuits over school prayer have in recent years caused some schools to make changes instead of going to court.
An Arkansas school district cancelled its 2013 sixth-grade graduation ceremonies after a threat of lawsuit by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. KAIT-TV reported the Riverside School District decided to discontinue
the graduation after getting a letter that addressed the possible illegal nature of planned student prayers.
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Another Arkansas school district went to court over prayer at the start of teachers’ meetings. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004 ruled
that the practice of the superintendent of the Devalls Bluff School District opening teachers' meetings with a prayer went against the First Amendment's establishment clause, which prohibits government from establishing an official religion or favoring one religion over another.
In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Epperson v. Arkansas that an Arkansas law prohibiting schools from teaching evolution was unconstitutional. The case concerned a public school teacher who said the law violated her rights to free speech and the establishment clause, according to IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
In a review of school prayer issues in the state of Arkansas, the state’s Department of Education points out the importance of neutrality in the issue. Government-sponsored prayer is unconstitutional. Students are allowed to have religious clubs.
Arkansas Law protects the rights of teachers to lead a moment of silence at the beginning of each day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
The Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has actively worked against
legislation that would outline parameters of school prayer. In 2007, organization representatives convinced lawmakers to withdraw a bill that would have given students the right to pray at school events including graduation ceremonies and sports competitions, according to the organization's website.
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