In an effort to give students a moment of introspection to start each day, the Mat-Su School Board is set to vote on a new policy that would require area principals to set aside one to two minutes at the start of each day for “quiet reflection.”
“The School Board finds that in the hectic society of today, too few persons are able to experience even a moment of quiet reflection before plunging headlong into the activities of daily life,” a draft of the policy states. “Young persons are particularly affected by the absence of an opportunity for a moment of quiet reflection. The School Board finds that our youth, and society as a whole, would be well served if students in schools were afforded a moment of silence at the beginning of each school day.”
The policy makes no mention of prayers or spirituality. Instead, it states that students “may not interfere with other students’ participation,” and that “A teacher may not make suggestions as to the nature of any reflection that a student may engage in during the moment of silence.”
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Additionally, the policy says each first period teacher “shall encourage parents or guardians to discuss with their children how to best use the moment of silence established by this Board Policy.”
Many schools across the nation have moments of silence set aside for students. Policies that are neutral and do not actively encourage prayer over any other contemplative-type activity have been upheld by various courts. Students may, however, choose to pray during the quiet moments.
The Mat-Su draft is in its second reading, which means the board could approve it at the upcoming Sept. 21 meeting.