Ideas

Big Data: Student views on school prayer

Globe Staff/File

2 percent

The number of public school students in the Northeast who say they’ve seen a teacher lead prayer in school, according to research from Pew Research Center. In the South, 12 percent of public school students say a teacher has led them in prayer. The Supreme Court ruled in 1962 in Engel v. Vitale that teacher-led school prayer violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

The same study found that even though 82 percent of the public school students surveyed were aware that teacher-led prayer in schools is unconstitutional, and could answer factual questions about it, 41 percent said they think it’s “appropriate” for a teacher to lead a class in prayer.

More than half of the teens surveyed say they’ve seen students in their public high schools wear religious clothing or jewelry with religious symbols, and 31 percent said they themselves often or sometimes wear such items. Only 13 percent said they’d witnessed religion-based bullying at school.

Sean Smyth can be reached at sean.smyth@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @smythsays.