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April 30, 2001

Students, Legislators
Debate Religion in Public Schools

High school students from throughout the state and a group of state lawmakers will take on the touchy issue of religion in public schools at a town hall meeting, 1 to 2 p.m., Thursday, May 3 in the State Capitol, room 126.

The meeting is sponsored by the LegiSchool Project, an award-winning civic education program of California State University, Sacramento and the State Legislature, administered by the Center for California Studies at CSUS. LegiSchool works to engage young people in public policy and state government.

Participants will examine whether schools have gone to far in their effort to maintain separation of church and state, and whether students' Constitutional rights of religious freedom have been infringed upon. They'll tackle prayer at large school gatherings, teachers participating in school prayer meetings, celebration of Christian holidays and more.

Panelists and audience participants will include students from Butte Valley High School in Dorris, Castro Valley High School in Castro Valley and John Burroughs High School in Burbank. Legislative participants will include Sen. Ray Haynes (R-Riverside), Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Dario Frommer (D-Los Feliz). Thousands of other students in California will view the meeting live on the California Channel or on videotape. The meeting will be moderated by Paula Gardner, a professor in the CSUS College of Education.

More information is available by contacting LegiSchool Project Director Kolleen Ostgaard at (916) 278-6906 or by visiting


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