The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that government make no law respecting an establishment of religion, a prohibition which extends to state governments via the Fourteenth Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has noted that, when it comes to the education of our children, the government should be “particularly vigilant” in ensuring schools do not promote religious views that may conflict with the religious beliefs of students and their families. As the Supreme Court eloquently stated in Board of Education v. Barnette in 1943:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.
The American Atheists Legal Center frequently takes action to ensure that public school officials remain “particularly vigilant” against the encroachment of religion into the classroom.
December 2016: An Iowa resident contacted the AALC to report that the local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes appeared to be receiving favorable treatment from the local junior high school. The AALC contacted the school district’s Director of Business Affairs to inquire about the religious group’s use of school facilities. Upon investigating, the school district learned that the proper procedures had not been followed and the the FCA was indeed receiving special treatment. School district officials met with school officials and the faculty member involved to review the school district’s facility use policy. The school district “considers any disciplinary action confidential.”