You Be The Judge
Test your knowledge of the Five Freedoms and see how you match up to the courts...and fellow citizens.
Religious Clubs in Public Schools
Westside High School, a public secondary school that receives federal financial assistance, permits its students to join, on a voluntary basis, a number of recognized groups and clubs, all of which meet after school hours on school premises. One student asked to start a Christian-themed Bible club, but the school denied her request, saying that to allow such a club would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
May students form religious clubs at public schools?
A. NOThe Establishment Clause prohibits public schools from officially endorsing or favoring one religion over another. To allow a Christian Club would signify preferential treatment on the part of the school, and violate the First Amendment’s mandate to “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
B. NOPublic school students do not have a First Amendment right to express their religious ideas while at school. They do, however, have the right to share their faith in other non-compulsory venues.
C. YESA public school that allows clubs that aren’t specifically related to the curriculum must also allow religious and political clubs, as long as they are student-initiated and student-led.