Virginia Senate Votes to Approve Bill Requiring Minute of Silence at Start of School Day

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The Virginia Senate votes 28 to 11 to approve a bill requiring teachers to hold up to a minute of silence at the start of each school day. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Warren Barry (R) says that it is an effort to reduce violence in schools but he is unable to explain how or why a minute of silence would have any effect whatsoever on violence.

Part of the bill reads:

"At the commencement of the first class of each day in all grades in all public schools, the teacher in charge of the room in which such class is held shall announce that a period of silence, not to exceed one minute in duration, shall be observed for meditation, prayer or reflection; during any such period of meditation, prayer or reflection, silence shall be maintained, and no other activities shall be performed."

Republican governor James Gilmore (R) insists that a moment of silence would not infringe on students' rights, but Gilmore offers no substantive response to any of the arguments made by critics about why a minute of silence can be unconstitutional.

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