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Moment of Silence for Schools

January 29, 2002
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

In light of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, some state lawmakers want to require all public schools to begin the day with a moment of silence to give students an opportunity to pray.

As Missy Shelton reports, some argue such legislation is unnecessary.

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State lawmakers begin each day's session with prayer...On Tuesday, Representative Betty Thompson said the prayer...

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Some state lawmakers believe students in public schools should have the same chance to begin their day with prayer.

Democratic representative Bill Gratz says after the terrorist attacks, some of his constituents asked him to file legislation mandating a moment of silence.

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There are those who fear such a requirement would make some children feel uncomfortable.

But Gratz says a moment of silence is not the same as a compulsory prayer.

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Several legislators say Gratz's bill is an unnecessary mandate.

Democratic representative Barbara Fraser is a former school teacher.

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Columbia representative Vicky Riback Wilson objects to the bill on the same grounds.

She says it's just one more requirement handed to local districts from the state.

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Gratz's bill is before a House committee and must receive committee approval if it's to move to the House floor for debate.

A vote on the bill could come as early as next week.

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