How can school officials tell when a planned school action or activity might violate the establishment clause?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Here are some questions that teachers and administrators should ask themselves when planning activities that may involve religious content (e.g., a holiday assembly in December):

  • Do I have a distinct educational or civic purpose in mind? If so, what is it? (It may not be the purpose of the public school to promote or denigrate religion.)
  • Have I done what I can to ensure that this activity is not designed in any way to either promote or inhibit religion?
  • Does this activity serve the educational mission of the school or the academic goals of the course?
  • Have I done what I can to ensure that no student or parent may be made to feel like an outsider, and not a full member of the community, by this activity?
  • If I am teaching about religion, am I balanced, accurate, and academic in my approach?