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.

TASB resources

Below are links to publications by TASB Legal Services that address religion issues in public schools:
  • 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 To Pray or Not To Pray discusses student-led prayer at graduation.

Relevant laws and TASB policies

TASB Legal Services has compiled a list of laws and policies relevant to the discussion of religion in public schools.