Code of Alabama - Title 16: Education - Section 16-1-20.3 - Student-initiated voluntary prayer

Section 16-1-20.3 - Student-initiated voluntary prayer.

(a) The legislative intent and purpose for this section is to protect the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to define for the citizens of Alabama the rights and privileges that are accorded them on public school and other public property and at school-related events, and to provide guidance to public school officials on the rights and requirements of law they must apply. Further, the intent and purpose of the Legislature is to properly accommodate the free exercise of religious rights of its student citizens in the public schools and at public school events as mandated by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the judicial interpretations thereof as given by the United States Supreme Court.

(b) On public school, other public, or other property, non-sectarian, non-proselytizing student-initiated voluntary prayer, invocations and/or benedictions, shall be permitted during compulsory or non-compulsory school-related student assemblies, school-related student sporting events, school-related graduation or commencement ceremonies, and other school-related student events.

(c) Nothing in this section shall otherwise diminish the right of any student or person to exercise his or her rights of free speech and religion, including prayer, as permitted by the United States Constitution and the Alabama Constitution on public school or other public property, or other property, at times or events other than those stated in subsection (b).

(d) The exercise of these rights on public school or other public property, or on other property for school-related activities, by students or others, shall not be construed to indicate any support, approval, or sanction by the State of Alabama, any political subdivision thereof, municipal corporation, governmental entity of any description, or any agent or employee of any governmental entity of the contents of any such prayer, invocation, benediction, or other activity, or be an unconstitutional use of any public school property or other public property, or be the promotion or establishment of any religion or religious belief.

(Acts 1993, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 93-850, p. 77, §§1-4.)

Last modified: May 3, 2021