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Ban on Religious Prayer in Port Washington Schools Evokes Controversy

December 24, 1959
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A decision to drop recitation of the Lord’s Prayer from school assembly programs will be reviewed as a result of a meeting of parents this week at which many participants strongly protested against the omission of the religious prayer, it was announced today by Eugene Worcester, president of the Board of Education.

Nearly 300 persons attended the meeting at which the issue was debated. The meeting was called after widespread divisions within the community developed on the matter. Mr. Worcester said that board members had not ordered a ban specifically on the Lord’s Prayer but on “all sectarian and denominational” prayers. Booming Port Washington has 5,000 children in its high school, two junior highs and six elementary schools.

The practice of opening high school assemblies with the Lord’s Prayer had not been questioned until last winter when Supreme Court Justice Bernard S. Meyer ruled that the daily reciting of the New York state-authorized prayer of the Board of Regents in nearby Herrick should not be made mandatory. The Board of Regents prayer is recited regularly in Port Washington elementary schools with the pledge of allegiance.

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