When the authors of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution wrote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” they sparked a debate that continues today. Are your students curious about how the separation of church and state applies to them, their schools and the sports team on which they play?
Encourage students to learn more about religious tolerance and liberty by exploring these resources:
Engel v. Vitale
Summary of the 1962 case in which the parents of 10 pupils in New York schools challenged the constitutionality of a New York state law requiring public schools to begin each day with a state-authorized prayer drafted by the State Board of Regents.
Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe
Summary of the 2000 case in which two families filed suit against a Texas school district for allowing student-led, student-initiated prayer over loudspeakers at football games.
A Teacher’s Guide to Religion in the Public Schools
A series of questions and answers to help teachers easily and effectively integrate the study of religion into their classrooms.
Finding Common Ground: A Guide to Religious Liberty in Public Schools
A guide to religion, public education and the First Amendment published by the First Amendment Center.
Religion and Schools
Website from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the issue of prayer in schools.
Religious Liberty: Frequently Asked Questions
From the First Amendment Center, a collection of frequently asked questions about freedom of religion.
Religious Liberty: Key Supreme Court Cases
From the First Amendment Center, a collection of key Supreme Court cases related to religion and public schools.