Current Status Bill Number:
3303Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: HouseIntroduced Date: 19950118Primary Sponsor: DavenportAll Sponsors: Davenport, Allison, Wells, A. Young, Fair, Quinn, Delleney and H. BrownDrafted Document Number: br1\18041ac.95Residing Body: HouseCurrent Committee: Education and Public Works Committee 21 HEPWSubject: Prayer in public schools
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ House 19950118 Introduced, read first time, 21 HEPW referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 59-1-441 SO AS TO AUTHORIZE STUDENT-INITIATED VOLUNTARY PRAYER AT SCHOOL ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS AND TO ALLOW A TEACHER OR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR TO PERMIT STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE VOLUNTARILY IN SUCH PRAYER.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 59-1-441. (A) The legislative intent and purpose of this section is to protect the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, to define for the citizens of South Carolina the rights and privileges that are accorded them on public school property, other public property, or other property at school-related events and to provide guidance to public school officials on the rights and requirements of law that they must apply. The intent and purpose of the General Assembly is to accommodate the free exercise of religious rights of its student citizens in the public schools and at public school events as provided to them by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the judicial interpretations of the First Amendment as given by the United States Supreme Court.
(B) On public school property, other public property, or other property invocations, benedictions, or nonsectarian, nonproselytizing student-initiated voluntary prayer is permitted during compulsory or noncompulsory school-related student assemblies, student sporting events, graduation or commencement ceremonies, and other school-related student events.
(C) This section does not diminish the right of a student or person to exercise his rights of free speech and religion, including prayer, as permitted by the United States Constitution, on public school property, other public property, or other property at times or events other than those stated in subsection (B).
(D) The exercise of the rights guaranteed under subsection (B) may not be construed to indicate support, approval, or sanction of the contents of any such prayer, invocation, benediction, or other activity or be construed as an unconstitutional use of public property or other property by the State of South Carolina or any agency, department, board, commission, institution, or other instrumentality of the State or a political subdivision of the State, including any county or municipality and any instrumentality of a county or municipality. The exercise of these rights on public school property, other public property, or on other property for school-related activities by students or others may not be construed as the promotion or establishment of any religion or religious belief.
(E) In addition, a teacher or school administrator in a school of this State which is supported, in whole or in part, by the public funds of the State may permit the voluntary participation by students or others in prayer. Nothing contained in this section authorizes a teacher or other school authority to prescribe the form or content of a prayer.
(F) The provisions of this section are severable. If any part of this section is declared invalid or unconstitutional, that declaration does not affect the part or parts that remain."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.