skip to Main Content

May teachers pray privately with students outside of class?

Teachers should not pray with students in school.  If a teacher believes a student needs prayer or if a student directly asks the teacher to pray for him, the teacher should arrange to meet the student away from the school campus.  The student’s parent should be notified that the teacher intends to respond to the student in this manner and should be asked to give consent.  The teacher could meet with the student for such a purpose at a church or at a neutral location such as a fast food restaurant near the school property.

Teachers have been fired for praying with students in school.  For example, in one case where a close friend of a student had died and the student requested prayer after class, the teacher was fired for accommodating the student’s request and praying with her.  Another teacher was fired because she encouraged her elementary school student to pray on their own before going to lunch.  If fired for praying with a student at school, the teacher would have no legal recourse.

In considering the appropriateness of praying with students in school, consider the matter turned upside-down.  Place yourself in the role of a parent with a child in the public school.  Imagine that your child approached a teacher who practiced the Wiccan religion and asked the teacher to cast a spell on her behalf.  Would you be concerned if the school permitted such interaction without your express consent?

Keeping Christ in America’s Public Schools, Gibbs & Gibbs, 2008

Back To Top