For the eighth time in 44 years, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., has introduced a proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to guarantee that students are permitted to pray in school if they wish.
On April 27, Sen. Byrd proposed an amendment to “clarify that the Constitution neither prohibits voluntary prayer nor requires prayer in the public schools of this country,” he said in a floor statement that day.
In arguing why he believes the amendment is needed, he cited rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that “have been moving closer and closer to prohibiting the free exercise of religion in America.” He said the amendment does not endorse any form of prayer in public schools, whether school-sponsored or voluntary student prayers.
“It simply allows children to pray voluntarily if they wish to do so,” he said.
Sen. Byrd is seeking re-election in November for what would be his ninth term. His proposed amendment was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A version of this article appeared in the May 10, 2006 edition of Education Week