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William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 6 More on Student Rights

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Title: William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 6 More on Student Rights


1
Student Religious Expression in Public Schools
  • Whats Permissible Whats Not
  • William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

2
Student religious expression in public schools
  • Foundation Principles
  • Dissecting Myths
  • Overview of Whats Permissible
  • Overview of Whats Not
  • Untangling student-initiated

3
  • Issues/Topics
  • Classrooms
  • Student Clubs
  • Release Time
  • Athletic events
  • Assemblies
  • Graduation Ceremonies
  • Distribution of Literature
  • Religious Holidays
  • Student Opt-outs curriculum, garb, holidays
  • Teachers

4
Key Word
  • Sponsorship

5
Americas Growing Religious Diversity
  • Protestant, Catholic, Jew
  • 1600 religions denominations

6
Buddhism
  • 3-4 Million Americans

7
Hinduism
  • 1.5-2 Million Americans

8
Islam
  • 6-8 Million Americans

9
How Religious Diversity Impacts Schools
  • Different traditions ways to pray
  • Holidays observances
  • Sensitivity to course content
  • Attire
  • Dietary needs

10
Foundation Principles
  • Not the business of government to control,
    support or influence the kinds of prayer
    Americans say.
  • Government power prestige behind religion
    places indirect pressure on religious minorities
    to conform to prevailing expressions.

11
  • Government must avoid sending messages to
    religious minorities that they are outsiders, not
    full members of the political community, and an
    accompanying message to adherents that they are
    insiders, favored members of the political
    community.
  • Justice Sandra Day OConnor

12
Trust Relationship
  • Families entrust public schools with the
    education of their children, but condition their
    trust on the understanding that the classroom
    will not be used to advance religious views that
    conflict with the private beliefs of the student
    or his or her family
  • Justice William Brennan

13
  • The place of religion in our society is an
    exalted one, but it is not the place of the state
    to interfere with the role of the church, the
    family, or the inviolable citadel of the human
    heart and mind.
  • Justice Tom Clark

14
Myths
  • Students cannot pray, read Bible
  • Prayer Bible reading was common prior to Court
    decisions
  • Bible cannot be studied in school
  • Public schools cannot teach values
  • Teachers cannot discuss religion or acknowledge
    holidays
  • Lack of religion cause of social ills

15
Myth Students cannot pray, read the Bible
  • Fact Court forbade school ORGANIZED or SPONSORED
    religion
  • Private expression allowed
  • Moments of silence

16
Myth Prayer Bible reading was common
  • Fact Only 1/3 of public schools had organized
    religious exercises before 1962

17
Myth Bible cannot be studied in schools
  • Fact Court forbade only inspirational or
    devotional study
  • Academic study OK

18
Myth Public Schools cannot teach values
  • Fact Teachers can and do teach common values
    honesty, respect, trust, civility,
    responsibility, etc.

19
Myth Teachers cannot acknowledge religion
  • Fact Religious topics may be discussed when
    germane
  • Religious themes part of our history, literature
    social relationships
  • However, teachers may not use religious
    references to proselytize

20
Myth Social problems due to lack of school prayer
  • Non sequitur
  • Many causes no simple solutions

21
Whats Permissible
  • Individual private prayer
  • Moments of silence
  • Student-initiated religious clubs (secondary)
  • Distribution of religious literature
  • Student selected assignments/projects
  • Teach about religion

22
Whats Not
  • Rule School sponsored, directed, controlled or
    encouraged religious exercises
  • Teacher-led prayer or Bible reading
  • Teacher/administrator participating with students
  • Turning over classrooms to students or outsiders
  • Prayer/Bible reading over public address system
  • Prayer/Bible reading at assemblies, concerts,
    athletic events, other official activities
  • Presentations or distributions by outsiders

23
Quandary Student-Led
  • Must be truly student-controlled or student
    autonomy
  • Not student-led if part of school sponsored or
    controlled activity
  • Student votes

24
Classrooms
  • Assignments
  • Art-work, projects
  • Student presentations
  • Teacher discussions
  • Teach about religions
  • Moments of silence

25
Student Clubs
  • Equal Access Act (1984) (secondary)
  • Student-initiated led
  • Before or after classes
  • Non-curriculum related
  • Similar access to facilities, recognition
  • Teachers monitor, not participate
  • Good News Club

26
Release Time
  • School-day religious instruction
  • Off-campus
  • Meaningful alternatives
  • Good News Club complication

27
Athletic Events
  • School controlled and directed activities
  • Student-led prayer
  • not permitted
  • Coach-led prayer
  • not permitted
  • Team prayers ?

28
Assemblies
  • School organized, controlled events
  • Outsider access prohibited
  • Student speech
  • Public Forum Equal Treatment?

29
Graduation Prayer
  • Clergy prayer not permitted
  • Student led for prayer not permitted
  • Student votes
  • Deep South exception
  • Baccalaureates

30
Student Distributions
  • Same rules as govern non-religious items
  • Schools may impose reasonable time, place
    manner limits
  • Offensive material

31
Religious Holidays
  • Observances OK
  • Celebrations NOT OK
  • Teaching opportunities
  • Carols, sacred music

32
Student Opt-Outs
  • Religious holidays attend services
  • Offensive course material
  • Religious garb
  • Prayer time?

33
Evolution
  • Teaching evolution permissible
  • Equal time for creation science or intelligent
    design not permitted

34
Ten Commandments
  • Posting of Ten Commandments in schools not
    permitted
  • May be used in academic study

35
Teacher Religious Expression
  • Limited Opportunities (Public Employees)
  • Not use classroom to share faith
  • Not participate in student religious activities

36
Partnerships
  • Church members may volunteer to tutor, mentor in
    schools
  • Not for proselytizing

37
Contacts
  • American Jewish Congress 212-360-1545
  • Americans United 202-466-3234
  • ADL 212-885-7733
  • Baptist Joint Committee 202-544-4226
  • Christian Legal Society 703-642-1070
  • First Amend. Center 703-284-2859
  • PTA 202-289-6790

38
(No Transcript)
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