Governor Kristi Noem hints at putting prayer back in public schools
On Friday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was in Des Moines, Iowa speaking at the conservative Family Leadership Summit. During her speech, she noted putting prayer back in schools in the state for the first time.
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -“We prayed in schools, which by the way, in South Dakota, I’m putting prayer back in our schools,” said South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
When asked to speak further about her brief touch on the topic, we received a reply that was equally as vague, with the Governor’s office telling us to “stay tuned”.
School officials also say that they are currently in the dark regarding the Governor’s cryptic comment. Katy Urban, public information manager for Rapid City Schools said, quote; “At this point, the Governor’s office has not communicated with districts regarding the idea of prayer in public schools. We will continue to follow directives from the State and Federal Departments of Education.”
The Supreme Court banned school-sponsored prayer in public schools in 1962, saying it violated students’ freedom of speech.
However, this does not mean religious expression cannot be displayed in public schools. Janna Farley, communications director at ACLU of South Dakota, says students have the freedom to engage in religious exercises at school with just one exception.
“Schools can’t have an officially sponsored prayer, officially sponsored prayer is just not acceptable in the school environment because school should be welcoming and nurturing for students and families of all faiths and beliefs,” Farley said.
In 2019, South Dakota passed a law that required all public schools in the state’s 149 districts to prominently display the national motto, “In God We Trust”.
Some argued this law was a violation of students’ and teachers’ freedom of conscience.
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