Religious picture on 7th-grader’s notebook
“It’s important to me because that’s what Jesus did for me.” Deborah Chambers of Arizona made this comment about the picture of Jesus on her notebook. Another student saw the picture and complained about it. Deborah was sent to the principal’s office where she was told to leave her notebook at home.
Deborah’s mother discussed the matter with the charter school’s principal. After realizing that religious expression was protected under the First Amendment, the principal allowed Deborah to return to school with her picture.
As a result of Deborah’s experience, a bill was introduced in the Arizona Legislature in 2009, banning censorship in schools based on religion. The Students Religious Liberties Act prohibits schools from discriminating against students on the basis of religious viewpoint or expression.
If passed, students may wear religious jewelry and clothing. A secondary purpose of the bill is to encourage schools and parents to attempt a resolution of any dispute before filing a lawsuit.
What do you think of this case?
Does it bother you if a student wears a religious symbol to school?
Should teens be allowed to express their beliefs to others or should religion be limited to the home and church?
Find out more about expressing your religious freedom at school.