Essay on Religion in Public Schools
The Secretary of Education Richard Riley, at the direction of President Clinton, issued guidelines in 1995 and 1998 to reflect recent court decisions. These guidelines affected the religious expressions of students and teachers. The expression of religion when related to students is allowed to a certain extent. While limited, students have rights when it comes to expressing their religious views. A student has the right to engage in individual or group prayer during the school day, but cannot force anyone else to participate. Students can attempt to persuade other students of their personal religious beliefs to a certain extent. The school can intercede if the persuasion turns to “harassment” (Zirkel). Also, students can use religion as a topic for their homework, artwork, and any other written or oral assignment, and they will be graded on normal academic standards. The display of religious messages on items like clothing is allowed to be worn by students as long as the clothing follows the rules and regulations of the school.
Teachers and administrators are faced with huge limitations when it comes to expressing their personal religious beliefs; it is virtually not allowed! Teachers in public schools cannot teach on religion, but they can teach about religion when it coincides with the curriculum