New Guidelines

On February 7, 2003, Education Secretary Rod Paige issued new student free speech guidelines as part of President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. The guidelines provide that schools-under the threat of losing their federal aid-must allow students their right to free expression, including religious expression such as voluntary prayer and Bible reading in school. In his letter introducing the guidelines, Mr. Paige wrote, "Public schools should not be hostile to the religious rights of their students and their families Among other things, students may read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray or study religious materials with fellow students during recess, the lunch hour, or other noninstructional time to the same extent that they may engage in nonreligious activities."

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