Guide for Christian students in the public schools
By Sancha Noel Smith
“It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights of freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” – Supreme Court of the United States, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” — Romans 1:16
As Christian students in the public school system, we understand the challenges you face in standing up for your faith in God. The enemy wants to silence you. But we have good news! You have certain rights as a student that can ensure your right to free speech, specifically regarding the expression of your religious beliefs.
So, we want you to be aware that at school you can…
• Exercise your right to free speech unless you create a substantial disruption to school activities. That includes the expression of your religious beliefs in discussions and assignments. All speech must be treated equally.
• Read your Bible during free time and share your faith with others, including through printed material. Again, any policy restricting printed material must apply to all material and not be aimed at religious material only.
• Wear clothing or jewelry that displays religious messages that are within the school dress code.
• Have student-led prayer during non-instructional times and at school functions.
• Form religious clubs, enjoying the same access as any other school club.
• Be exempted from any activity that violates your religious convictions.
• Celebrate or observe a religious holiday within the same guidelines as any other holiday.
• Be respectful. Follow instructions at all times and ask to talk to someone in the principal’s office if you believe your rights are being violated.