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INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO: 53
POLICY CODE: IMD
TO: Superintendents of Schools, Dale Douglass (MSMA), and Dick Durost (Maine Principals Association)
FROM: Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner
DATE: March 19, 2003
SUBJECT: Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools
Time Sensitive. Please Read Immediately. A Response is Required On or Before April 8, 2003
Section 9524 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act ("ESEA") of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires that, as a condition of receiving ESEA funds, a local educational agency ("LEA") must certify, in writing to its State educational agency ("SEA"), that it has no policy that prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer in public schools as set forth in the guidance provided on the Internet through the Department of Education's website <http://www.ed.gov/inits/religionandschools/prayer_guidance.html>.
In order for the Maine Department of Education to be in compliance with this requirement for 2003, we must receive a written statement from each LEA documenting that it does not have any policy that prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer in public schools by April 8, 2003. To do this, please either e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a letter to Jacqueline Soychak, Federal Program Services Team Leader and Policy Director, 23 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0023 containing the following information:
Name of LEA________________________________________ Date ________
____does ____does not have any policy that prevents or otherwise denies participation in constitutionally protected prayer in public schools.
Signature of person authorized to provide this assurance___________________________
The Guidance provided by the USDOE is available at this link. We realize that many of you will have questions. Those questions can be submitted in writing at any time to the above person and address and we will respond to you as soon as possible.