[This image can be found here. These are school boys engaged in prayer at an Islamic school in Nigeria. This is exactly what the christianist wingnuts would like to see in the U.S. public schools; the only difference is the god to whom they pray!]
Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist tipped me to this one.
The story goes like this. "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.'"
My first thought is that the nitwits who thought up this "moment of silence" have never been in a classroom. The challenge for many teachers has to do with the monumental task of getting the kiddos into their [proper and assigned] seat!
Moment of silence, indeed!
Secondly, this whole business is just another ploy by the christianist wingnuts to sneak prayer into our public schools. Public schools have NEVER outlawed prayer. I've known many students who prayed before class, before a test, before lunch, and before a football game. They did it silently and unobtrusively and no one EVER questioned their right to do so.
So, why do we need a "moment of silence"?
We don't - not in Texas, not in Florida, not in New York, not anywhere!
Actually, it could end up a real problem, if some of the more intelligent kids put this moment of silence to good use. For example, as long as they were silent, for one minute they could:
1. Stand up and play with a yoyo.
2. Use hand-signals to communicate with a student across the room.
3. Males could pull the hair of a girl sitting in front of them.
4. Girls could put on make-up, comb their hair, make sure their lipstick is not all over their faces.
5. Text-message on a cell phone.
6. Draw graffiti in a text book.
7. Sneak notes to other people in the room.
8. Go to sleep (without snoring).
10. Study for the quiz (which I always gave first thing every morning).
11. Make goofy faces at a friend in the next row.
12. Pretend to tear up one's homework.
13. Plan one's afterschool activities.
14. Stare at the teacher with an amused expression.
15. Stare at the teacher with a bored expression.
16. Stare at the teacher with an angry expression.
I'm sure there are many more creative ways that students can use this blessed "moment of silence," thanks to the asshats in the Texas Legislature who know from nothing about public schools but are driven to try to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us!