Religion In Public Schools - What's acceptable and what's not?
There have been ongoing debates regarding the boundaries for religious worship in schools. Even though there are plenty of educational organizations which focus on one particular religious denomination, there are known to be boundaries regarding what is acceptable and what isn't - with a proportion of the intake that these schools have normally being required to be of a different faith.
Some experts believe that religion should not get in the way of the education which young people deserve - meaning that schools should not prescribe prayer time or worship in the classroom. All of this said, others argue that because religion can be utilized in a person's life rather freely, there is nothing to stop them from following their faith in school if they so wish. So - with both of these arguments conflicting one another, what are the boundaries that schools abide by?
You could find that the boundaries of acceptability depend on which school your child goes to. Interaction between school authorities and parents have become extremely important in ensuring that an educational approach within one individual organization is tailored to the needs of the parents who send their children. This has been proven to be effective - however, there are some governmental policies which many of us have to contend with.
The First Amendment is something which has been established by the US Government regarding the ability of students to express themselves religiously. Following on from controversy which was seen in the time of the Vietnamese War, it was decided that young people should be able to have free speech as long as it does not affect the education which is being provided by these schools.
The First Amendment can be particularly hard to enforce on a blanket basis, particularly regarding some of the media outlets which students might use to connect with their fellow peers and parents in the form of a publication such as a newspaper. As such, there have been some cries of censorship for those who have been trying to use media to express themselves freely in a school.
Because of how many public schools have extra-curricular activities which go beyond the classroom, there have also been ethical debates about how religion could be implemented in these circumstances. For example, what if a student was to make an impassioned speech about their faith at an event which was being held by the school? It has been found that in such a situation, a student may lose their right to free speech if the authoritarians in the school felt fit - as such, this could have been something to bear in mind.
It can be a grey area for everybody in the education sector - whether they are religious beings or not. All in all, it can be extremely worthwhile for you to analyze the situation in the individual educational environment to see what their individual stance is on religion in their public school - and from here, you can make an informed decision.
More Information on Religion in Public Schools
- Can Public Schools Be Religiously Neutral?- A good legal-based article.
- Challenging Religious Education - This site promotes the view that religious education (RE) in schools in England and Wales should encourage pupils to learn a faith as opposed to learn about faiths.
- Federal Guidelines for Religious Expression in Public Schools - Brief synopsis of federal guidelines for how religious expression may be handled in public schools.
- Internet Infidels: School Prayer - Collection of articles for and against government led prayer in the public schools.
- National Center for Science Education - National organization devoted to defending the teaching of evolution in public schools, and keeping creationism out.
- National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools - A program to bring a state-certified elective Bible course, "The Bible as History and Literature", into the public high schools in the U.S. Provides streaming video, endorsements, and articles covering historical and legal issues, as well as related links.
- Pray for the Children - A petition to the US House of Representatives that will "allow prayer in our schools".
- Public School Prayer Persecution - Presents arguments why prayer should not be permitted in public schools, and criticism of Christian conservatives.
- Public School System Used Against Christ - Articles from the Christian Parents' Information Network, arguing against the secular public school system.
- Religion and the Community School - Discusses the experiences of one teacher with the intersection of the community school model with the desire of a community to include Christian teachings in their public school's activities.
- Religion in U.S. Public Schools - Presents both sides of the issue on religious activities in schools, with essays on current legal decisions.
- Teaching About Religion In Public Schools - Offers help to educators to encourage students toward objective consideration of the varied worldviews they may study in history.
- U.S. Supreme Court Church v. State Decisions- Major decisions in the Church vs. State issue.