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What’s OK And What’s Not OK: A School Prayer Primer

Yesterday was “See You at the Pole,” an annual event where public school students meet outside the building for a voluntary prayer session (often near a flagpole, hence the name – see this example) usually before the school day begins.

The Religious Right expects Americans United to get all worked up about this. We really don’t – as long as the event is voluntary and student-run and school officials aren’t sponsoring or promoting it.

See You At The Church-State Wall: Flagpole Prayer Organizers Must Play By The Rules

Tomorrow is “See You At The Pole 2011,” an annual prayer observance at public schools. Students gather around the flagpoles at their schools before classes to engage in Christian devotions.

Because most of these SYATP events are voluntary and student-initiated, they generally do not violate the constitutional separation of church and state. Each year, however, Americans United gets complaints about schools where teachers and administrators participate inappropriately.

See You At The First Amendment: Voluntary Pole Prayers Are Fine For Students, But Not School Officials

Today, more than three million kids from across the country and world were expected to gather around their public schools' flagpoles to pray as part of the annual "See You at the Pole" (SYATP) event.

This Christian prayer meeting began in 1990 when teenagers got together to pray at their school's flagpole in Burleson, Texas. By 1991, the event went nationwide.