Texas Moment-Of-Silence Law Passes Court Test

A Texas law requiring public school students to observe a daily moment of silence following the Pledge of Allegiance is constitutional, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The Texas legislature amended its moment-of-silence statute in 2003 to include prayer as one of the practices that students could undertake, alongside reflection, meditation or “any other silent activity that is not likely to interfere with or distract another student.”

David and Shannon Croft filed a lawsuit on behalf of their three children after an elementary school teacher told one of their children to remain quiet because the minute is a “time for prayer.” The lawsuit alleged the moment of silence was being used as a way for government to advance religion and was unconstitutional.

But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. A three-judge panel ruled March 16 in Croft v. Perry that “[t]he statute is facially neutral between religious and nonreligious activities that students can choose to engage in during the moment of silence.”