The First Amendment of the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” As the Supreme Court has stated (Abington School District v, Schempp, 374 U.S. 203) the Amendment thus, “embraces two concepts—freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute but, in the nature of things, the second cannot be.” Therefore, it is the Board’s policy that the school system, as an agency of the government, shall be neutral in matters regarding religion and will not engage in any activity that either advocates or disparages religion. The District shall assume no role or responsibility for the religious training of any student.
The need for neutrality does not diminish our school system’s educational responsibility to address the historical role of religion in the development of our culture. Since we live in a diverse society, the District’s goal shall be to address the subject of religion objectively in such a way that it promotes an understanding of, and tolerance for, each other’s religious or non-religious views.
Discussions concerning religious concepts, practices, or disciplines are permissible when presented in a secular context in their relation to an inclusive study of religion or to the study of a particular region or country. The discussions shall be such that they are objective and academically informational and do not advocate nor denigrate any particular form of religious practice.
The teacher in charge of each classroom may, at the opening of school each day, conduct a brief period of silence with the participation of all students in the classroom who desire to participate.
Legal Reference: A.C.A. § 6-10-115