Religion in the Public Schools
School districts have to navigate seemingly contradictory legal requirements in the area of religion in public schools. Schools cannot establish religion by coercing, endorsing, or promoting religious views in schools. At the same time, schools cannot interfere with individuals’ free expression of their beliefs. Fortunately, legal authority exists to help districts effectively address the issues that may arise regarding religious expression in public schools. TASB Legal Services has provided several resources to assist districts in applying these basic legal principles.
Religion in the Public Schools DVD
Religion in the Public Schools DVD and supplementary free materials about religion at school, published by TASB Legal Services.
TASB Legal Services’ primary resources on this topic include our Religion in Public Schools DVD and free supplementary materials, linked above. TASB Legal Services’ Religion in Public Schools DVD and the free supplementary materials provide answers to numerous practical questions that school districts and school employees may have regarding religious expression in public schools. Topics include: Voluntary Prayer by Students, Religion in Schoolwork, Student Speakers, Distribution of Materials, Employee Religious Expression, Student and Employee Dress, and more.
Other TASB Resources
Below are links to publications by TASB Legal Services that address religion issues in public schools:
Relevant Laws and TASB Policies
TASB Legal Services’ outline Religion in the Public Schools covers a range of issues including religion in schoolwork, student speakers, distribution of materials, and employee religious expression, among others.
TASB Legal Services’ outline Student Religious Expression addresses religious expression by students at school and gives examples of when students’ personal expression is protected by law.
TASB Legal Services’ outline Religious Accommodations addresses situations when students or parents seek exemptions from general school rules or requirements based on religious objections.
TASB Legal Services’ article Bible Curriculum in Texas discusses legal issues related to a Texas law requiring public schools to offer enrichment curriculum on the Old and New Testaments.
TASB Legal Services’ article Prayer at School Board Meetings addresses the issue of school boards beginning board meetings with a prayer.
TASB Legal Services' article To Pray or Not To Pray discusses student-led prayer at graduation.
TASB Legal Services has compiled a list of laws and policies
relevant to the discussion of religion in public schools.
Resources from Other Organizations
TASB Legal Services has compiled a list of links to websites of other organizations
that address First Amendment concerns.