Ill. public school silent time reinstated

Jan. 27, 2011 at 5:00 PM
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BUFFALO GROVE, Ill., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A suburban Chicago girl and her outspoken atheist father said they'd appeal an injunction's removal that returned a moment of silence to state public schools.

"I'm definitely dissatisfied with the injunction being removed," Dawn Sherman, 17, told the Chicago Tribune. "The whole purpose of the injunction was to not implement the moment of silence until we had ascertained the constitutionality. This issue has not been settled."

The Buffalo Grove (Ill.) High School senior and her father, WJJG-AM, Chicago, talk show host Rob Sherman, said they would either appeal to a higher court, ask the state Legislature to make the moment of silence voluntary or ask school boards across the state to move the timing of the moment so it is not always at the beginning of the day, the Tribune said.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman lifted his 2-year-old injunction after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined last week the Illinois Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act requiring the moment of silence in all Illinois public schools was not unconstitutional because the law did not specify the silent time must be used for prayer.

The law lets students reflect on the day's activities rather than pray if that is their choice.

The appeals court added the moment had a practical purpose in calming students at the start of classes.

Gettleman ruled Jan. 21, 2009, the law does indeed cross the line separating church and state.

"The statute is a subtle effort to force students at impressionable ages to contemplate religion," Gettleman said in his ruling.

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