Religion in School

I have been doing some research. I’m a Nervous Nelly.  I really worry about going back to work and eventually sending Freya to school. I know it’s still several years down the road for me, but I want to stay up to date and educated on my options so that I can figure out what I want to do when the time comes. That led to me finding a witchvox post.

This post is about the school systems and what is out there. It is a very informative and I would recommend giving it a glance.  However, what interested me the most, was a listing of federal guidelines as to what is acceptable in public schools when it comes to religion.  I figured that most pagan parents would be interested because, let’s face it, most of us cannot afford a private school or to home school our children.

So here is the link to Educating Pagan Children

Federal Guidelines: religious expression in public schools

What are the rules for religious expression public schools? Secretary of Education Richard Riley, at the direction of President Clinton, issued guidelines 1995 and updated them 1998 to reflect recent court decisions.

A synopsis of the guidelines: Students have the same right to engage in individual or group prayer and religious discussion during the school day as they do to engage in other comparable activity.
Local school authorities have “substantial discretion” to impose rules of order but may not structure the rules to discriminate against religious activity or speech. Students may attempt to persuade peers about religious topics as they would any other topics, but schools should stop such speech that constitutes harassment.

Students may participate in before- or after-school events with religious content, such as “see-you-at-the-flagpole” gatherings, on the same terms they can participate in other non-curricular activities on school premises.Teachers and administrators are prohibited from either encouraging or discouraging religious activity and from participating in such activity with students. Public schools may not provide religious instruction but may teach about religion.

Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork and other written and oral assignments. The work should be judged by ordinary academic standards and against other “legitimate pedagogical concerns.” Students may distribute religious literature on the same terms other literature unrelated to curriculum can be distributed. Students may display religious messages on clothing to the same extent they may display other comparable messages.

Schools have “substantial discretion” to excuse students from lessons objectionable on religious or other conscientious grounds. But students generally don’t have a federal to be excused from lessons inconsistent with religious beliefs or practices. Schools may actively teach civic values and morals, even if some of those values also happen to be held by religions.

For the complete printable version of these guidlelines, see: THE EQUAL ACCESS ACT.

Hope this information was helpful

Blessed Be.

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