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Religion and Student Rights in Schools. Alpha Team: Jeff Alderman Alison Anson Connie Brackney Lisa Broadbent Jackie Ebbert. Schools and the Pledge of Allegiance. Illinois School Code Policy # 105 ILCS 5/27-3. The Illinois School Code States:.

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religion and student rights in schools

Religion and Student Rights in Schools

Alpha Team:

Jeff Alderman

Alison Anson

Connie Brackney

Lisa Broadbent

Jackie Ebbert

schools and the pledge of allegiance

Schools and the Pledge of Allegiance

Illinois School Code

Policy # 105 ILCS 5/27-3

the illinois school code states

The Illinois School Code States:

The Pledge of Allegiance shall be recited each school day by pupils in elementary and secondary educational institutions supported or maintained in whole or in part by public funds.

pledge of allegiance

Pledge of Allegiance

Therefore, all students will have an opportunity to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America during the beginning of the student’s school day.

All members of the school community will be encouraged, but not required, to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.

pledge of allegiance1

Pledge of Allegiance

Those individuals who decline to participate must do so in a non-disruptive, respectful manner, but may not be subject to harassment or reprisal for their decision. Appropriate disciplinary action shall be taken against any student or staff member who engages in conduct contrary to the directions of this policy.



The United States does not have national holidays.

A day where all employees in the U.S. receive a day free from work and all business is halted.

Federal holidays are holidays in which the government and postal system is closed for business.

Federal holidays often close schools as well, though this is

not always the case.

Each school district has the right to select the days of the year that they will be open or closed which may or may not have an affect felt by the government holidays.

federal holidays

Federal Holidays

Federal holidays are designated by Congress in Title V of the United States Code.

Congress has established 11 permanent federal holidays.

States individually decide their own legal holidays.

1885 holiday leave was given to all federal employees for the first five congressionally designated federal holidays: New Years Day, George Washington’s Birthday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Memorial Day and Labor Day followed in 1888 and 1894.


1938 Armistice Day was created to mark the close of WW1 (1954 its name was changed to Veterans Day to honor Americans who fought in additional conflicts)

Uniform Holiday Bill of 1968 shifted some official holidays from their traditional dates to Mondays.

Mondays would benefit the nation’s spiritual and economic life;

Enable Americans to enjoy a wider range of activities and to be with family given more time for travel; and

Provide increased opportunities for pilgrimages to the historic sites connected with our holidays.

Department of Labor, and the U.S. Civil Service Commission all endorsed the idea.

school holiday

School Holiday

School holidays are the days in which schools are closed between academic terms.

Christmas holiday (sometimes called winter recess) includes both the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Easter holiday (sometimes called spring break) takes place in the Spring, with the date varying by country and level of schooling.

Summer holiday refers to the large break from school between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

In addition to the official holidays, many religious, ethnic, and other traditional holidays populate the calendar, as well as observances proclaimed by officials and lighter celebrations.

religion and public schools

Religion and Public Schools

The First Amendment to the Constitution directs,

“Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” (Separation of church/state)

Establishment Clause

No laws helping one religion over another

Free Exercise Clause

Prohibits interfering with religious freedoms

Public schools remain neutral

school prayer history

School Prayer History

1962 Engel v. Vitale (New York)

Prayer was required in the public schools

Claimed undenominational and approved by state courts

Students could remain silent or be excused from room

Supreme Court decided it violated Establishment Clause

1963 Abington Township S.D. v. Schempp, (Pennsy.)

Required bible reading at the beginning of each school day

Students could be excused upon parental written request

Consent of the majority cannot use the State to practice its beliefs

Supreme Court decided it violated Establishment Clause

1985 Wallace v. Jaffree (Alabama)

One minute of silence required for meditation/voluntary prayer

Teacher sometimes asked a “willing student” to recite prayer

“Voluntary prayer” indicates a favored practice and not consistent with neutrality towards religion

Supreme Court decided it violated Establishment Clause

school prayer history1

School Prayer History

1992 Lee v. Weisman, (Rhode Island)

Nonsectarian prayer at formal middle school graduation ceremony

School district invites members of clergy to offer invocation/benediction

Clergy given guidelines composed with “inclusiveness and sensitivity”

Important event had compelled attendance/participation

Supreme Court decided it violated Establishment Clause

2000 Sante Fe Independent S.D. v. Doe (Texas)

Student-led, initiated prayer before home football games

Students voted by secret ballot on what the invocation will be and it must be nonsectarian

Majority election on the encouragement of religion is a constitutional violation

Supreme Court decided it violated Establishment Clause

recommendation regarding prayer religion in public school

Recommendation regarding Prayer/Religion in Public School

Develop legally defensible guidelines that are supported by the U.S. Supreme Court decisions addressing religious activities/events in their school

School-sponsored holiday programs must not be conducted in a religious atmosphere

School authorities must refrain from any activity that would create an unclear line of separation between school activities and religious activities

Ask the question, “Is the primary purpose of a law or practice to advance or inhibit religion creating an entanglement of church and state?”(U.S. Supreme Court, primary effect)

School authorities should consult the district’s legal counsel regarding any questionable religious activities in their school

jehovah s witnesses


There are over 6 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in the world today.

Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to follow the literal teachings of the Bible.

Jehovah is a biblical term used in the Bible to refer to God.

basic beliefs
Basic Beliefs

Jehovah’s Witness’s use the Knowledge Book which is their interpretation of Bible teachings.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that at the time of Armageddon (the last days on Earth), only the Jehovah’s Witnesses will be redeemed. All others will cease to exist. They do not believe in Hell.

Jehovah’s Witnesses abstain from all politics and war. They do not vote, run for office, or join the military.

Jehovah’s Witnesses can be “disfellowshiped” and will not experience redemption unless they are re-excepted by the elders.

beliefs on holidays
Beliefs On Holidays


Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate any holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, etc.

- They believe all holidays have pagan roots.

- They believe like Jehovah, they should not follow beliefs and traditions

that are “of the earth”.

*Jehovah’s Witnesses are permitted to celebrate their wedding anniversaries.

jehovah s witnesses and the pledge of allegiance
Jehovah's Witnesses and The Pledge of Allegiance

The Bible prohibits having false idols before God. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe pledging to the flag would is pledging to a false idol.

They believe all human governments are instituted by Satan and pledging to them would be a sin.

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)

- The Supreme Court ruled that J.W.s were protected from saying the pledge under the First Amendment.

websites on jehovah s witnesses
Websites on Jehovah’s Witnesses

Official Site for Jehovah's Witnesses:

Religious Beliefs:

Jehovah's Witnesses and Holidays:

Jehovah's Witnesses and The Pledge of Allegiance: