Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Constitutionally Protected Prayer

Section 9524 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, requires that, as a condition of receiving ESEA funds, each school district must certify in writing to the Arkansas Department of Education that it has no policy that prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer in public schools as set forth in this guidance. Such guidance was described in a letter from U.S. Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, to all school administrators, dated February 7, 2003.

Also, it is referenced at the following website:

http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/religionandschools/prayer_guidance.html

In order to be in compliance for the current school year, each school district must complete the statement of assurance form and return it to the Arkansas Department of Education. To meet the timeline established by the U.S. Department of Education, the submission deadline is September 15.

For more information, please contact:

Oliver Dillingham, Public School Program Manager                                    
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Public School Accountability
Four Capitol Mall, Box 25
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-682-4213
Fax: 501-682-5177
Email: Oliver.Dillingham@Arkansas.gov

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