Religion and public schools
The First Amendment provides a sensible guide for determining the proper scope of religion in the public schools. Achieving the right balance between its two religion clauses (no establishment of religion and free exercise of religion) in public schools is a crucial goal for an institution that is charged with serving all Americans.
The Baptist Joint Committee offers several resources that can be used as handouts or as informational guides for the role of religion in the public schools. Additionally, articles written by our staff can offer insight into some of the sticky situations that surround this area.
In general, the public schools must refrain from sponsoring religious exercises or otherwise promoting religion. But they should accommodate the rights of students to practice their religion in ways that do not disrupt the education process or interfere with the rights of other students not to participate. Voluntary, student-initiated prayer, for example, should ordinarily be permitted, but school-sponsored prayer should not be allowed. Check out the guidebooks and handouts as well as our popular articles on the topic to learn more. You can also read about the latest news regarding religion and public schools on our blog.
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