FAQs on how to keep your child’s faith alive.
Christian parents and students are starting to think about school again and wondering how their faith can survive in an atheistic environment. Since 75% of our kids loose their faith in public school, many parents are becoming more proactive in protecting their kids faith. One way is to know the rights Christians have in school. Because teachers are much more limited in their rights, many people assume that students are just as limited. But only teachers can violate the Establishment Clause which states that religion cannot be officially mandated by schools. However, parents and students are not in any authority position and can never violate this clause. But they fully enjoy the Free Speech Clause which gives full rights to express their religious belief.
Here are some frequently asked questions:
Can students pray in school?
Students can pray in school as long as it does not disrupt the class. Prayer before lunch or a test is certainly allowed. Students can also pray in groups during non-instructional time.
Can students express their religious beliefs in class, a talent show, or an assignment?
Students are welcome to express their religious beliefs in a class discussion or as part of an assignment when it pertains to the topic. They can sing and dance to Christian music or recite Christian poems.
May students bring their Bible to school and read it in school?
Both carrying a Bible and reading it in school are constitutionally protected Free Speech rights routinely upheld by courts. Students’ Free Speech rights would be violated if the students were not permitted to bring a Bible to school or to read it at appropriate times in school. Schools are not religion-free zones.
Get your free ebook on Christian students rights and separation of church & state HERE!
Can parents or students start Bible clubs in school?
Public schools are prohibited from discriminating against Free Speech which includes religious speech. A school may not prohibit student expression or a Bible club, solely because others might find it offensive. Bible clubs are an excellent way for Christian students to get together and support each other. Making the right friends early on can prevent faith-shaking situations later. Clubs throughout elementary, middle and high school years provide the encouragement, stability and fun Christian kids need to stay strong in their faith.
Which school rules have to be observed for a Christian club using the First Amendment Free Speech Clause? Clubs need to:
1. Be voluntary
2. Meet during non-instructional time
Can a Christian club use promotional materials to spread the word about meetings or activities?
The right to freedom of speech has always included the right to communicate, promote and advertise. All student clubs, including religious clubs, have the right to distribute materials, use bulletin boards, the school newspaper and even use the public address system to advertise their meetings and events. Schools may request a clarifying statement such as “this is not a school-sponsored event.”
Can Bible clubs be formed in elementary schools?
Yes, even in elementary schools, students have the right to clubs. These clubs also need to be voluntary and have to be offered during non-instructional time. In elementary schools, parents make the decision about joining and teaching the club.
Who can establish an elementary school faith-based club?
Typically a parent, pastor, grandparent or any concerned adult establishes the club. Only school staff are prohibited from teaching these clubs.
How are elementary school Christian clubs formed?
Elementary school Christian clubs are organized as community groups via the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. The club leader obtains approval from the principal for an after-school faith-based club according to Free Speech rights. The principal will approve the proposed flyer so it can be distributed to all students. A parental sign-up portion is part of the flyer which will be returned to school. This sign-up signature also constitutes permission from the parent to faith-based teaching in the club. You can find a sample flyer with a permission slip at partnerwithschools.org
Can a Christian club meet in the classroom or other school facility?
You can request the library, cafeteria, gym, classroom, etc. The school administration has to make every effort to accommodate the club within the requirements of other school activities. Non-curriculum related clubs are allowed to meet on campus during non-instructional time such as before/after-school, free time, or lunch time.
Our kids in public schools need us more than ever.
You can find out more about parent rights, teacher rights, and how to find Christian friends or start a Christian club at Partnerwithschools.org. Not just in high schools, but even elementary schools. If done right, we can reach our public schools with the love of God.
Get your free ebook on parent/student/teacher rights, separation of church & state, how to unite Christian students and reach out to others. Learn more HERE!