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Religion in Public Schools - Role & Place of Religion in Public Schools


The presence and extent of religion in public schools is one of the most difficult and contentious issues when it comes to the separation of church and state. On the one hand are those who sincerely believe that a lack of religion in the schools "teaches" atheism or secular humanism, resulting in a decline in morality and performance. On the other hand are those who sincerely believe that state sanctioned religion and state supported religious observances infringe upon the religious liberties of all students.

School Prayer

Prayer in public schools is a contentious issue and one which seems to arouse the most anger and the most passion among people on both sides the question of the separation of church and state. Can kids pray in school? Should kids pray in school? What role can or should schools have when it comes to prayers? Is a "moment of silence" permitted or not? When do religious activities in public schools cross over the line between church and state?

Good Friday & Easter

Good Friday is a Christian Holy Day which many Christians would surely like to have off from school, but does that mean that governments should grant it official recognition over and above the holy days of other religions? Are official school holidays on Good Friday constitutional?

Schools and Christmas Holidays

Traditionally, public schools in America have been very explicit in their celebration of the Christmas season - for students, it has been a Christmas holiday season, a Christmas break, and celebratory events were specifically oriented towards Christmas. So long as America has been predominantly Christian in composition, such a focus went unchallenged and even unnoticed by the majority.

Private, Religious School Vouchers

Supporters of voucher programs argue that with all the failing schools in America, vouchers are necessary in order for kids to receive the best possible education. Vouchers introduce competition, and parents will pick the best schools just like they pick the best cars — and then everyone wins. But is that really true? Is there a genuine need for vouchers to help kids attend private, religious schools and would those schools really provide a better education than secular public schools?

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