Children no longer have to return to school and leave their faith at the schoolhouse door.
Public school students across America can form religious clubs, pray together in their free time, distribute religious literature to classmates, share their religious convictions in class discussions and in many other ways which belie the myth of the “godless public schools.”
Teachers are preparing to teach about religions in various history and literature classes. State standards, especially in the social studies, now require that students learn something (and, in some states, a considerable amount) about the major faith traditions.
This much religion in schools may strike some readers as surprising and new, but God hasn’t come back into public education overnight. It has taken more than two decades for student religious expression and study about religions to return, slowly but steadily, to public schools —owing to court decisions, legislation, and broadly supported guidelines issued by religious, educational and civil liberties groups. KLS is a part of this.
Of course, the return of religion to public schools doesn’t mean that all schools are getting religion right. In districts still afraid to deal with religion, religious diversity remains the ignored diversity. Administrators and teachers are unsure how to deal with student requests for religious accommodation and often mistakenly discourage student religious expression that is protected by the First Amendment. They need to understand that they must protect the right of students to express their faith within the framework established by current law.
Students’ free exercise of religion in schools matters because getting religious freedom right in America matters. Join KLS in making this matter.