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    Religious picture on 7th-grader’s notebook

    Date: 05.11.09 | by Judge Tom.

    “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.

    Photo by Mr. TGT (Flickr)

    Photo by Mr. TGT (Flickr)

    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.

    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
      Wed, 13 May 2009 at 08:47

      per group, the boys feel that students should be able to express their beliefs, as long as they do not force their views upon others via conversations with peers