Reblog: Know Your Rights as a Christian in a Public School

By The Gospel Coalition

As the school year gets underway, many parents, students, teachers, and coaches have questions about what they legally can and cannot do as it relates to their Christian faith. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a non-profit organization that defends the religious liberty of Christians, has compiled a helpful collection of guidance on our Constitutionally protected rights. Below is information related to K–12 taken directly from various resources produced by ADF. Next week we’ll be posting more information related specifically to college students.

Rights of Student and Parent

Your child has the right to pray at school, talk about God in class assignments, start a religious club on campus that receives the same rights and resources as other clubs, and freely share their faith with others.

As a parent, you have the right to:

  • Opt your children out of curriculum that would require them to violate your family’s religious beliefs.
  • Depending on where you live, opt your children out of curriculum that would force them to violate your family’s religious beliefs.
  • Depending on where you live, review the curriculum and teaching materials for any of your child’s classes.
  • Opt your child out of any extracurricular activity.
  • Depending on where you live, be notified if your child is enrolled in a course that includes sex education, family planning, homosexual themes, diversity issues, or extreme violence.
  • Access your child’s record, including grades, disciplinary, and counseling proceedings.
  • Remove your child on days of religious observance.
  • Depending on where you live, receive the same tax credits and vouchers to attend religious schools that are also available for attending non-religious schools.
  • Choose the school environment that best fits your child’s needs, whether public school, charter school, private school, or homeschool.

Teacher and Coach Rights

Teachers and coaches have the right to:

1. Engage in religious activities outside of non-instructional time. For example, teachers can form after-school Bible study groups, participate in prayer groups with other adults, and distribute literature to other adults for non-curricular activities on the same terms as all other events and activities.

2. Provide instruction related to religion as part of the curriculum. For example, teachers can use religious information in an objective manner and teach the Bible for its historical, cultural, or literary value.

3. Have some involvement in religious clubs. For example, teachers can allow students and athletes to lead prayer but can’t lead it themselves; exchange religious ideas or even have prayer meetings with one another, provided students aren’t present; and act as a faculty sponsor if all activities are led by students and the teacher or coach is only there to supervise.

Read the Rest here.


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