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The Chicago Tribune ran an article today about the now-mandatory moment of silence in public schools across the state.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Mark Merklin, a sophomore at South Elgin High. “What’s the punishment if you talk all through the moment of silence? Is there a fine or what?”

Neil Codell, superintendent of Niles Township High School District 219, said in a prepared statement that legislators “have moved to new heights of buffoonery and uselessness” by not tackling what he considered to be more important issues.

“If I’ve drawn ire here it’s because we are really fed up with their antics which is to avoid dealing with central, pertinent issues that all schools need to deal with which is school funding reform,” Codell said. “No wonder we’re down at the bottom of all the states in school funding because this is what they spend their time on.”

Thankfully, Illinois’ resident atheist activist Rob Sherman is on the case:

Atheist and activist Rob Sherman said once the law is implemented at Buffalo Grove High School where his 14-year-old daughter Dawn is a freshman, he’ll sue Township High School District 214 and immediately seek an injunction.
The law calls for the moment of silence “at the opening of each school day” which in his daughter’s case means biology class.
“They’ll be damaging my daughter in that this process stops the public school teacher from teaching during instructional time paid for by the taxpayers,” Sherman said. “This is the General Assembly’s more-religion-less-science plan for my daughter’s biology class.”
Sherman noted that even a minute a day could take away up to three hours of instructional time during a 181-day school year.

I don’t know how strong his case would be, but in theory, I’m on his side.
This is an idiotic move on the state legislators’ part.
At my school, most students have a free period where they can clear their mind, talk to their friends, see their counselors, get some homework done, get tutored, go to the library, etc. If that doesn’t help them relax, I doubt that a few seconds of silence will do it any more.
I enjoyed this response from one commenter:

I used the moment of silence to sneak a text message in while the teacher wasn’t looking.

You can see the list of who voted for this bill (nullifying the governor’s veto) here (PDF).

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]