Religous Rights Of Tchrs. In School Environment

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Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, School Law, Use of School Facilities, Religous Rights of Teachers, Religous Freedom of Expression, Religous Rights in Schooling, Due Process, Freedom of Expression, School Prayers, Termination, Due Process

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Religous Rights Of Tchrs. In School Environment

  1. 1. Religious Rights of Teachers in the School Environment <ul><li>Religious Rights of Teachers in the School Environment </li></ul><ul><li>William Allan Kritsonis, PhD </li></ul>
  2. 2. R eligious R ights of T eachers in the S chool E nvironment <ul><li>In the United States individuals have a fundamental right to live in a </li></ul><ul><li>manner that is free from governmental interference or influence. </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps this belief is no more prevalent than in the arena of education </li></ul><ul><li>and religion. History has shown us that these two components of </li></ul><ul><li>society have come together like “oil and water.” There have been </li></ul><ul><li>advocates on both sides of the spectrum. Those who see the importance </li></ul><ul><li>of education and religion coming together and then there are those who </li></ul><ul><li>feel that never should the two meet. This is a subject that can be </li></ul><ul><li>debated for days; however this paper will focus on the religious rights </li></ul><ul><li>of educators in the school environment. </li></ul>
  3. 3. R eligious R ights of T eachers in the S chool E nvironment <ul><li>An educator must maintain an up to date </li></ul><ul><li>knowledge base not only of their content area, </li></ul><ul><li>but they must also be well versed in the legal </li></ul><ul><li>rules and regulations mandated by the local, </li></ul><ul><li>the state and the federal court systems. The </li></ul><ul><li>formation of the laws governing educators and </li></ul><ul><li>religion come from three primary sources the </li></ul><ul><li>First Amendment (Religious Liberty Clause), the </li></ul><ul><li>Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>The First Amendment </li></ul><ul><li>“ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” </li></ul><ul><li>(Walsh 253). </li></ul>R eligious R ights of T eachers in the S chool E nvironment
  5. 5. <ul><li>The First Amendment </li></ul><ul><li>The First Amendment, which is sometimes referred to as the Religious Liberty Clause, contains the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. It also provides the framework for educators’ religious rights “under the first amendment student and faculty rights to religious expression are protected,” (Mills 1). </li></ul>R eligious R ights of T eachers in the S chool E nvironment
  6. 6. <ul><li>The Establishment Clause </li></ul><ul><li>Congress shall make no law respecting an </li></ul><ul><li>establishment of religion , or prohibiting the free </li></ul><ul><li>exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, </li></ul><ul><li>or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to </li></ul><ul><li>assemble, and to petition the Government for a </li></ul><ul><li>redress of grievances,” </li></ul>R eligious R ights of T eachers in the S chool E nvironment
  7. 7. <ul><li>The Establishment Clause </li></ul><ul><li>The Lemon Test </li></ul><ul><li>The Lemon test consists of a series of questions that the courts will use </li></ul><ul><li>as a means of resolving issues concerning church and state disputes. </li></ul><ul><li>The questions that apply to the Lemon test are as follows (Walsh 254): </li></ul><ul><li>1. Does the law, or other government action, have a bona fide secular or civic purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>2. Does the primary effect neither advance nor inhibit religion? In other words is it neutral? </li></ul><ul><li>3. Does the law avoid excessive governmental entanglement with religion? </li></ul>R eligious R ights of T eachers in the S chool E nvironment
  8. 8. <ul><li>The Free Exercise Clause </li></ul><ul><li>Congress shall make no law respecting an </li></ul><ul><li>establishment of religion , or prohibiting the free </li></ul><ul><li>exercise thereof ; or abridging the freedom of speech, </li></ul><ul><li>or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to </li></ul><ul><li>assemble, and to petition the Government for a </li></ul><ul><li>redress of grievances,” </li></ul>R eligious R ights of T eachers in the S chool E nvironment
  9. 9. <ul><li>The Free Exercise Clause </li></ul><ul><li>1. The educator must have a “sincere” religious belief that is being denied. This does not mean that it has to be logical or an established religious denomination, but if the participant genuinely believes in the truths provided under that practice, the pursuance of said religion cannot be deprived. </li></ul><ul><li>2. “Substantial” burden must be evident. This means that the compliant (educator) is able to provide proof that their religion or the pursuance of their religion has been compromised by the school, the school district or the government. </li></ul>R eligious R ights of T eachers in the S chool E nvironment
  10. 10. <ul><li>The Free Exercise Clause </li></ul><ul><li>3. The state has the right to determine what is in the best interest of its stakeholders (the school system). Therefore, the ruling on a religious practice must not conflict with the “compelling state interest” which is to say that the public’s health and the school’s safety is not in jeopardy. </li></ul><ul><li>4. The educator must have the “least restrictive means” by which to pursue their religious beliefs. </li></ul>R eligious R ights of T eachers in the S chool E nvironment
  11. 11. <ul><li>The First Amendment is perhaps an educator’s first line </li></ul><ul><li>of defense as it relates to education and religion. It </li></ul><ul><li>outlines two clear clauses that serve as the bases for </li></ul><ul><li>reinforcing the basic truths that our country was </li></ul><ul><li>founded on. The Establishment Clause provides the </li></ul><ul><li>criterions that are used by the courts to determine the </li></ul><ul><li>validity of a law or practice as it relates religion in the </li></ul><ul><li>educational system. The Free Exercise Clause also </li></ul><ul><li>emphasizes the importance of separation of church and </li></ul><ul><li>state by focusing on the sincerity of a belief. </li></ul>R eligious R ights of T eachers in the S chool E nvironment

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