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Philadelphia Councilwoman Wants Prayer Allowed In Schools

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A City Councilwoman is calling on her colleagues to hold a hearing on prayer in the Philadelphia School District.

While U.S. Supreme Court decisions prevent teachers and other public school officials from leading classes in prayer, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell wants Council’s Committee on Education to hold a hearing on the issue.

“Our understanding is that if youth say they want the opportunity for their expression of religion in their own way, that it’ll be alright.”

Blackwell believes students should be free to pray alone or in groups, as long as the activity is not disruptive and does not infringe on the rights of others. She says prayer can promote more virtuous living, and may have a positive impact on student behavior in schools.

“To give society the ability to feel we’re trying to do the right thing.”

Blackwell says schools should respect the right of students to engage in religious activity and discussion.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio

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  • :0)

    I guess I don’t get what she is fighting for here. We already can pray in school, as long as we don’t disrupt the class. So, It just does not really make any sense to me. But I am a Christian and I believe that prayer out of school has been a really good idea. I do think It is rude for you all to call her an idiot, maybe she has something up her sleeve that could change something big!!

  • Desertman

    A non-issue. Students already have that right. The only thing that can’t happen is for a teacher or the administration to lead the prayer.

  • Dee

    Prayer was removed from school many years ago. time to bring back a moment of silence to allow those the opportunity to pray…. what has happened is the atheists began saying this is offensive?? to them and that they should not be subjected to being in the presence at school of anyone who prayed. They find God our creator offensive.. remember madalyn O’Hair who fought to have prayer removed…. oddly enough she disappeared and was never found . What is amazing is that her son William became a minister.. No denying our need to give thanks for blessings that are bestowed on us . God bless each and everyone of us

  • John

    Are you kidding me?Praying in school is done every day in philadelphia public schools. How else do you think these kids survive that school system.

    • Heather

      Thank you, John. This is exactly right. No one is stopping any child from praying. This is such a non-issue. We have actual issues we need to work on, this is just a distraction.

  • Dave Bailey

    Watch out, folks! This is a Trojan Horse that will bring Muslim prayer into the school. The whole issue of prayer in school was settled decades ago, so you know that Christians aren’t bringing it up. In the public schools have been reintroduced, the entire school had to pause while the Muslims students did their prayer ritual in a special reserved “prayer room” in the middle of the day.

    • non-issue

      Oh noes! “Freedom of religion” might apply to multiple religions, watch out!

      Actually, everyone has the right to pray in school however they choose, as long as they’re not disrupting class. I always chose to study and do my work in school, which is why I am now well-educated and successful, but if kids want to use their school time praying that they’ll get smarter, they are absolutely free to do so.

  • Reggie

    I think students should have the right to pray in school if they want to in a non disruptive manner. Isn’t it better to have students with an awareness of the presence of God, rather than those who think they are God (by taking lives)? More prayer will result in fewer guns. I know this by faith.

    • Of course.

      Reggie, of course they DO have that right. You know that, right?

      This is like saying you think kids should be allowed to breathe in school, as long as they aren’t causing any disruption.

      No one is stopping kids from praying in school.

  • KBarclay

    Yes, if we look at our society today, and at our youth of today, I would definitely agree that allowing prayer in schools might be a good thing. Perhaps giving some positive activity options might turn our young poeple back to living clean lives, and perhpas would turn our nation back around from its current demise. Just the negative comments posted here are a mirror of our current state of affairs.

    • ***

      Kids are allowed to pray in schools, K. Maybe they’re just too busy texting in class to be bothered. But they are ALLOWED to pray in school.

  • JFP

    Look how mean our citizens have become since they banned prayer in schools 50 years ago….my imagination? I don’t think so.

    • Evidence?

      Where is prayer banned in school? I challenge you to provide some facts to back up your claim. I’m a teacher, and it’s not banned in my school. (Public school, not a Christian school.) I see kids praying before they eat their lunch. No one arrests them. No one smacks their knuckles. Kids ARE ALLOWED to pray in school.

  • grumpy

    I think that eliminating DROP for these elected free loaders is a more important issue!

  • j t

    As long as there are tests and exams, there is already prayer in school. I think council has more pressing fiscal initiatives.

  • hero

    More religious terrorism from the misguided. Students can pray all night at home if so desire. Pray on the way to school. Pray before class. Pray at lunch. Pray when school lets out. Pray when they get home. Pray all night.

    Why would this woman want hearings on prayer? Aren’t there more pressing matters to examine? Hearings on prayer, and prayer itself, are equal wastes of time.

    • Thomas

      They can pray in class if they want to. I don’t need some council hack telling me when/where…

      • Keep government out of prayer.


        Christians don’t need permission to pray. NON-ISSUE.

  • Jim Wilmer

    True, we can pray anywhere we want. But whats wrong with it be suggested that this would be allowed in schools. We are told what we can’t do. Are told what we have to do. So, whats wrong with being told, that those students who wanted to pray, they could! The rowdy ones in the school push all the rules to the limits, and then break them. They are the ones who cost the students’ their education. Because of their disruption. Maybe prayer would have a calming effect?

    • Why?

      I think Christian kids already know they can pray in school. If they don’t know, they’re parents should tell them. Why do you need the government involved in prayer?

  • bijipop

    Save it for Sunday, sister. What a waste of living, breathing space this idiot is.

    • Mary De Angelis

      Agree. And I am religious. Here is what Jesus said on the subject:

      5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

      6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

      7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

  • Anonymous

    She’s an idiot.

    • Mary De Angelis


  • s. j. seitz

    I think this is wonderful how could it hurt, i applaude her for speaking the truth!

  • f b

    hey, blackwell, do you carve the fat off a turkey? this is an issue the city of phila. needs right now? you know big mouth why dont you just collect your check and shut up, not hearing from you is better then having your thoughts or ideas . it hurts the public knowing your on the job, stop reminding us!

    • Mary De Angelis

      Second that.

  • Thomas

    People already have the ability to pray whenever they want.

    I don’t need the city council to tell me it’s ok – I just do it.

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