- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

DALLAS (AP) - A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a Texas law that requires public school students to observe a daily minute of silence in order to pray, reflect or otherwise remain quiet.

A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a district court ruling, saying the law is constitutional because it expressly allows for any silent use of the period, either religious or nonreligious.

The 2003 law allows children to “reflect, pray, meditate or engage in any other silent activities” for one minute at the beginning of each school day.

David and Shannon Croft, of Carrollton, Texas, who sued on behalf of their three children, contend that including the word “pray” in the law was a way for lawmakers to advance religion in schools.

The state argued that the moment of silence fostered patriotism, provided time for contemplation and protected religious freedom.

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