Connecticut shooting re-ignites debate about prayer in schools

Would religion in schools help prevent violence?

ABILENE, Texas - Advocating religion in public schools has been banned for decades.

With the recent school shooting in Connecticut, some are blaming a lack of prayer in the classroom.

Several people around Abilene agree.

"It needs to be there most definitely and that's a perfect example of what happens when it's not there," said Thelma Reebold.

"I think religion belongs in school and the reason the world is the way it is is because they took prayer out of school," said Diane Ruffin.

"I think that prayer is very important to keep schools safe," said Kathy Shackelford.

However, Trace Michaels, a local pastor, thinks it's best to leave religion in the hands of parents and churches.

He's not convinced that there is a connection between what happened in Connecticut and the absence of religion in our schools.

"It's hard for me to say that the sole reason that there are certain things happening in the schools today is because prayer has been kicked out. Yes, I'm sure it has something to do with it but at the same time, to point your finger solely to that, i think that's an error," said Michaels.

Tim Palmer, McMurry Chaplain, echos his thoughts.

"Anytime we decide where God is and where he isn't...in a way, we're short changing the nature of God. God is omnipresent," said Palmer.

He said instead of trying to place blame, right now people should focus on other pressing issues.

"In questions of gun laws, in questions of mental health..I think those are conversations what we need to have and i think they should be robust dialogues and we should bring our perspectives to the table. But that's what's missing. We're not coming to the same table," said Palmer.

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