• Homemade posters at elementary school censored for religious message

    Date: 08.21.09 | by Judge Tom.

    “Come pray with us”  -  “In God we trust”

    These were two of the phrases added to posters made to promote “See You at the Pole,” a national student-led and student-initiated prayer event.  Lakeview Elementary School in Tennessee required that any references to God and prayer be covered up with green paper [see below] before the students could hang the posters at school.  The posters included a disclaimer explaining that the event wasn’t school-sanctioned.

    praywithuspostertennessee2Five families sued the school district claiming unfair censorship and a violation of religious expression.  The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law that establishes or endorses religion or prohibits the free exercise thereof. That means that public schools must not participate in any way in promoting religion.  Schools have to consider freedom of religious expression by students while remaining neutral on matters of religion and maintaining a safe environment for all students.

    An agreement was reached and the school agreed to rescind their censorship policy banning religious phrases on student posters. 

    For more about religious practices at school, see:  http://askthejudge.info/do-i-have-to-pray-in-school/47/

     

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    1 Comment subscribe to these comments.

    • julie
      Tue, 25 Aug 2009 at 08:58

      we feel that as it is not a school-run activity, the students should be allowed religious expression in their posters