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School Board Rejects Petition on Referendum for Prayer in Classrooms

A petition signed by 5,000 residents of this suburban community, calling for a referendum on making mandatory recitation of the “Regents” prayer in all classrooms in the school district, was rejected last night by the Plainedge Board of Education. The vote was five to two.

The prayer recommended by the New York State Board of Regents also is the subject of a suit brought by a parents group against the Herrick, L. I., Board of Education. The Nassau County Supreme court sanctioned use of the prayer. The decision has been appealed by the parents to the Appellate Division.

The board majority said after the vote that at its next meeting on December 10 it would propose a moment of silent meditation at the opening of the school day in place of the prayer, the text of which is: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg Thy blessing upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country.”