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U.S. Court of Appeal Upholds Ban of Prayers in N. Y. Public Schools

The United States Court of Appeals here yesterday unanimously upheld the city and state school authorities in banning the recitation of prayers in public schools. The decision by the three-judge appeals court reversed an order by Brooklyn Federal District Court Judge Walter Bruchhausen the had granted a group of 15 Queens parents of various faiths an injunction against the prayer ban.

The parents, representing 21 children in a Whitestone, Queens public school, obtained the injunction against an order by the school principal in 1962 to stop the recitation of prayers following the U.S. Supreme Court decision against the New York State Regents prayer. A non-denominational brief Grace after meals recited by kindergarten pupils and a school wide thanksgiving recitation mentioning “God” were discontinued at that time.

In ruling in favor of the principal, the Board of Education and the State Regents Board, the appeals court said that the school authorities were entitled to weigh the wishes of those parents favoring prayers in the school against the “likely desire of other parents not to have their children present at such prayers, either because the prayers were too religious or not religious enough and the wisdom of having public educational institutions stick to education and keep out of religion with all the bickering that intrusion in to the latter is likely to produce.”

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