State senate approves minute of silence
Richmond, VA. - A measure requiring public schools to observe a minute of silence for meditation, prayer, or reflection at the beginning of every school day was approved by Virginia's Senate last Tuesday. In a 28-to-11 vote, senators agreed to legislation hailed by social and religious conservatives as a way to instill values in young people and reduce violence in schools. Many civil libertarians argue that it crosses the constitutional line dividing church and state. The bill will now go to the House, where supporters and opponents say it will likely pass. About half of the states already have some version of a moment-of-silence law. A number of states have considered measures with religious overtones - including posting the Ten Commandments - in response to the fatal shootings last April at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
'Gay-straight' club allowed to meet
Santa Ana, Calif. - A federal judge Friday ordered school officials in southern California to allow a gay tolerance club to meet on campus pending resolution of a lawsuit, saying they would otherwise suffer "irreparable harm." US district judge David O. Carter issued the preliminary injunction against the Orange Unified School District while a lawsuit filed by two El Modena High School students plays out in court. The students filed the federal lawsuit in November, saying the board discriminated and violated their free-speech rights. The following month, the board voted unanimously not to allow the club.
Students to sit on school board
Montpelier, VT. - For decades, the major decisions about children's education in Vermont have been made solely by adults. But last Thursday, the Vermont House took a step toward changing that, approving a measure that would allow two high school students to sit on the state Board of Education, one with full voting rights and one without. The students would be chosen by Gov. Howard Dean and would serve two years on the board. If the Senate approves the bill, a student could be on the board as early as July.
Compiled from news wires by Sara Steindorf
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