We have somehow fooled ourselves into thinking that the absence of a religious practice is okay.
However, in some situations, this is not okay. As I am a Christian I will speak from this perspective.
First, “Never stop praying," though not a command but part of the sanctification and glorification of salvation. Believers are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (as well as Ephesians 6:18), to use our lives as an honor to God and that we should pray as much as possible. Further in 1 Thessalonians (5:18) we are directed to give thanks in all circumstances as this is God's will for us through Jesus Christ.
So, if the Spirit moves me to pray, then I should pray. If I am stopped from praying, then isn't this hindering my religious freedom?
So consider, should we or should we not pray aloud? Considering that Jesus did, on occasion, condemn people for praying aloud, should we even ponder this? Well this problem isn't about praying aloud or silently, it's about what is in our hearts. Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they were being boastful and attempting to flaunt their "religion". If this is the aim, then yes, don't pray because it will be an affront to God and a boastful show of religion can harm others witnessing it.
But what if it's because I am truly am moved and I want to give glory to God? Are we going to stop the student who just thanked grandma out in the audience for her dedication to violin lessons? Or the young girl whose father passed in a car accident and she feels she needs to say "I did it dad"? Then why am I being stifled for giving thanks to the God who helped me with courage, and strength, and will to juggle five chainsaws while singing "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria"?
The crux of this question is flawed. First, is the assumption that a divine entity is not present, yet to a true believer, the divine entity is just as real as any other being present. Second, religion is noted as a set of rules and guidelines, yet once again, to a believe, it is a life-style.
If you halt one, then you really need to halt all. If you're being selective, you're discriminating. If you're feeling awkward because someone is praying, that's probably the Spirit reaching out to you.
Any student should have the right to do what they feel the right to do when it comes to belief and religion. People these days get bullied a lot for praying and things like that. I certainly no child at any age should feel the pressure to change religion because of force. It is their choice, and they should be able to have the freedom to do so.
A student does not shed his rights when he enters a public school. Many families have no educational options besides public schools, but they are legally forced to formally school their children. He is not hurting anything by expressing his faith, and people who feel threatened by his faith should challenge it, not try to silence it. Censoring beliefs that you disagree with is cowardice. We don't censor the atheists from expressing their beliefs, so why should we censor the religious?
You are allowed to pray in school, it IS NOT BANNED. You are just not allowed to have teachers leading prayers, or the school mandating group prayers. That's it!!! In fact schools still allow christian after-school groups. For example the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, or Bible Study Club. It isn't banned. And this is coming from an Atheist.
If the person is doing it during class, then yes, they can get in trouble. But you have before school, after school, and lunch. Or you could get a hall pass and pray outside the class. If they make a christian prayer club, that's another good option, as long as atheists can have their own club based off of atheism.
Freedom of religion and freedom of speech obviously allows for kids to pray when they wish and how they wish. I don't understand why there is so much confusion about this topic. There is only one rule against religion in public schools and that is teachers and all staff cannot condone or approve of one religion over another, for example in a PUBLIC school a teacher cannot simply stand up and say "Okay class today we are going to talk about God".
There is no issue with this. I don't see the issue with a good satanic child praying in the hallway on his own time as long as he is not bothering anyone or anything. I could see an issue with bulling arise as other children who may not understand his culture or traditions. They may even prosecute him as peers. As for the school system its self it shouldn't' have an issue.
How can you have freedom of religion if a religion is allowed to influence others? Hypothetically, if you live in an area that is governed by a religious person who does not share your faith. Would you want his religious beliefs to influence you or how your treated? Would you want his kids influencing your kids on their faith? Sure, you may not have much of a problem if it was a similar faith but what if it they were of a far different faith, one you may oppose? Thing is, the separation of church and state was not the idea of an atheist but people of various faiths who did not want their tax dollars going toward another religious belief or against their own. As you can see, you can't have freedom of religion without freedom from religion.
As a note: I don't know why any Christian would have an issue with not being allowed to pray in public. After all, it is against the wishes of Jesus to pray in public. (Matthew 6: 1-8) If your not familiar with that passage, it is just before one you probably know very well call The Lord's Prayer. Clearly Jesus does not want you to pray in public so what's the problem?
Actually, I think that the issue can occur as soon as the prayer is prounounced in front of an audience, such as a graduation, because no matter if the school does not encourage it, everybody is forced into listening to this manifestation of faith and can feel excluded, or may regard it as proseletysm. It would be the same problem if an atheist took the microphone and challenged publicly the existence of God. Furthermore, the school can give a "free speech" to a student and the student "happens to make a prayer", in this respect, I think that attitude could put the secularism at stakes because there's a true grey area. Yet, I think I would have answered Yes to the question without the issue of public audience.