You decide whose arguments are best in these five real-life court cases.
Every day, judges make decisions. To do this, they listen carefully to both sides. They think about what the law says, what other judges have said, and what is unique about this case.
Now it's your turn to be the judge.
Form an opinion about these five real-life court cases. At the end of the story, read what the judges decided.
Many years ago, some public schools required students to pray. However, this was found to go against the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. The government (which includes public schools) cannot tell you to be a certain religion – or any religion at all.
Since then, some states have adopted laws requiring schools to have a moment of silence each morning.
In 2000, the state of Virginia adopted such a law.
The time was to be used for prayer, meditation, or reflection. Students needed to be seated and quiet. Teachers and students couldn't pray aloud. The teacher couldn't tell students to pray or not to pray.
A group of parents sued the governor, schools, and officials, saying the law went against freedom of religion.
The case went to a US Court of Appeals, where two judges ruled one way and one disagreed.
Here is an argument in favor of allowing the moment of silence:
In the past, the US Supreme Court said that it was OK to have a moment of silence as long as prayer was not the only reason for it. In this case, there were other purposes, such as quieting students before starting the school day.
Here is an opposing argument:
The bill's purpose was to have prayer in the school. Other reasons for the quiet time, such as giving children time to think, were a sham.
What is your decision?
Bread and beans
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