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Separation of Church and State

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Establishment Clause and Separation of Church and State:

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Essentially, this means that the government must not perform any action that might establish or prohibit religious activity. The actual phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution at all, however. This phrase first appeared in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson. __

Student Actions:

In most instances, students have the right to express their personal religious beliefs. Students may pray, read the Bible or other religious texts and discuss their faith as long as they do so in a non-disruptive or non-discriminatory manner. Schools without school uniforms that allow message shirts and jewelry must also allow students to wear religious shirts and accessories, again provided that these articles refrain from posing a threat or direct insult to students of other faiths. __

Prayer in Schools:

Public schools may not lead students in prayer, as established by the Supreme Court in 1962 with their ruling in "Engel v. Vitale." Schools may allow time for a moment of silence, however. In 2002, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the ...

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