by Jack Minor –
School districts in America, including District 6 will be receiving a booklet advising them of the religious rights of students.
Liberty Counsel, a group that defends the religious rights of individuals announced last Friday that they were sending 99,750 copies of the Patriot’s handbook of Religious Freedom in Public Schools to every school district in the country.
The organization says their extensive experience defending students, school administrators and educators against the ACLU and other activists led them to produce the booklet which is intended to be a go-to guide for school officials to use if an when an issue involving the free exercise of religion in public schools.
Some have said there is no indication that public schools suppress the religious rights of students, but Liberty Counsel says they have seen a surge of complaints in recent years from “school administrators, educators, and students, whose rights were egregiously violated by those who use public education to indoctrinate their radical, secular ideas. Secular activists attempt to remove religious expression from our public schools, indoctrinate students in alternative lifestyles, and bully through intimidation and blatant misrepresentation.”
The book is intended to clarify the rights of students to pray, form Bible clubs, and engage in religious expression in public schools, including holiday celebrations and the rights of teachers, parents, and guardians.
“The public school is not a faith-free zone,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Students need not leave their spiritual beliefs on the schoolhouse steps. Liberty Counsel is here to educate and, if need be, litigate to defend their First Amendment rights.”
Incidents of students having their religious freedom suppressed include:
- In 2003 an elementary student in Plano, Texas, had his “goodie bags” banned from the classroom because they contained religious messages. Another student had tickets to a religious play confiscated and was threatened with being kicked out of school if she attempted to distribute them on campus.
- Just this year a second-grader in Wisconsin was prohibited from passing out handmade valentines that said “Jesus loves you.”
- Florida teacher, Jerry Buell at Mount Dora High School was threatened with suspension after voicing disapproval of same-sex marriage on Facebook, despite the comments being made on his personal computer on his personal time.
- Wisconsin student Brandon Wegner faced humiliation and censorship after writing a paper opposing homosexual adoption.
- Teachers in Florida faced the possibility of jail time for praying over their meal at a non-school event. An agreement with the ACLU forbad teachers from acknowledging any private prayer by bowing their head. The president of the senior class was not allowed to speak at her own graduation because she was a Christian and would not agree to have her speech submitted to the ACLU for prior approval before hand.