St. Louis Public Radio News
12:09 pm
Wed March 26, 2003

Deadline Approaches for School Prayer Requirement

Jefferson City, Mo. – The deadline is approaching for schools across the country to verify that their policies don't prevent constitutionally protected prayer.

It's one of the lesser-known requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Schools that don't verify could lose federal money.

At latest check, all but six of the state's 550 public school districts have complied with the requirement, saying they are not infringing on the rights of students and teachers to pray.

Illinois schools have been told of the requirement, but don't have to respond the same way Missouri schools do.

Among those not responding in Missouri are the state School for the Blind; the state Division of Youth Services, which holds classes for juvenile delinquents; the Hancock Place School District in the St. Louis area; and the Windsor School District in Jefferson County.

Schools are getting another reminder about the requirement of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. If they still don't respond, the state could withhold their federal funding.