After a protracted assault on Christianity under the secular Obama administration, states are standing their ground by re-asserting religious rights. One such state is Louisiana, they have published a guide for its public schools.
Under the leadership of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, the Louisiana Students Rights Review has been released. The 15-page guideline, which comes on the heels of a lawsuit against Webster Parish School District for allowing Christianity into schools, details proper protocols for enjoying religious expression by public school students and teachers alike. Despite attacks by recent atheist groups attempting to unseat sports coaches across the nation for taking part in team prayers, Louisiana officials have declared their schools and communities are not “religion-free zones.”
Excerpts from the guide states, “To the contrary, both federal and state laws specifically protect religious freedom rights in public schools. Thankfully, Congress and our state legislature still recognize the fundamental importance of religious liberty — the first freedom listed in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.”
The official religious practice guideline takes an Originalist meaning of the U.S. Constitution by recognizing the importance of remaining religiously neutral. All faiths are welcome to enjoy equal expression and protection under Louisiana’s Student Rights Review. By publishing the regulations, leaders have let students and teachers know that they no longer need to hide their faith in the shadows for fear of reprisal.
Students are now officially free to openly pray, discuss matters of faith, conduct Bible readings and welcome others into religiously-oriented gatherings and events, according to the document. One important stipulation is that religious activities must be initiated by the students, not the administration. The following excerpts are listed among the published guidance:
General Guidelines for Student Religious Speech
Because religious speech must be treated just as all other speech, students are free to pray, discuss their faith, read the Bible or other religious texts, and invite others to share and participate in such activities. To be protected by law, the religious expression must be student-led, student-initiated and voluntary.
School officials may not prohibit student expression during non-instructional time unless it (a) materially and substantially interferes with the operation of the school, or (b) infringes on the rights of other students. A school may not prohibit student expression solely because others might find it offensive.
Can Students Pray at School?
Yes. Because prayer is private speech, students are allowed to pray at school during non-instructional time so long as the prayers are not disruptive or appear to be endorsed by the school or school officials.
Can Students Express their Beliefs in the Classroom and School Assignments?
Yes. When a student’s expression of his or her religious beliefs is relevant to the subject matter and meets the standards of the assignment, a school may not prohibit such expression without a legitimate educational purpose for doing so.
Can Students Read and/or Distribute Religious Materials at School?
Yes. Students are able to do so during non-instructional time because schools are not allowed to treat religious materials any differently than non-religious materials.
Can the Bible be Used in a Public School Classroom?
Yes. More than a half century ago, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified that “the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities,” and “such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education” is perfectly lawful when relevant and appropriate to the subject matter of a class.
Can Religious Clubs Meet on School Grounds?
Yes. A school must treat every recognized non-curriculum related student organization equally. If any student club is allowed to hold voluntary meetings during non-instructional time and on school grounds, religious clubs must be allowed to do the same.
Can Schools Fund Religious Clubs?
Yes. Religious clubs must be allowed the same access to school funding as all other student clubs. For example, if student fees are collected for a school’s general fund and any student organization is allowed a share of those funds, religious student organizations must be allowed the same share.
What Should a Religious Club Do if a School Refuses to Recognize it as a Student Club?
If a school refuses to recognize a religious club or provide it the same access and privileges that are given to non-religious clubs, the students and their parents should meet with the school officials to discuss and resolve the matter. If the matter is not resolved, the students and their parents should seek the assistance of their local elected officials or the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General.
Faculty members are once again free to recognize Christmas and Easter for educational purposes and help organize Bible study groups outside teaching time. It appears God is back in the lives of American children at home and at school.
~ Christian Patriot Daily