Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

There is perhaps no better setting that exhibits the perennial tension between the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause than American public schools. The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution ensures that students may retain their religious beliefs, practices, identities, and rights when they enter public schools. The free exercise principle also protects government employees; however, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prevents teachers and administrators, as agents of the state, from entangling the public school in religious activities or engaging in school speech that advances or endorses religion. This chapter illustrates how these two principles––free exercise of religion and non-establishment of religion––form the concept known as religious freedom. Attempting to strike this balance are public schools, which are required to serve the entire public, whether religious or not. Those within the school—both teachers and students—may be religious and wish to express their religion or to express their critique of or nonaffiliation with religion. This chapter explores different forms of religious expression for both students and teachers and details the unconstitutional nature of laws that seek to target religion for regulation or fail to accommodate religion in public schools.

Keywords: religious freedom, religious liberty, free speech, expression, public school, student, teacher, religious garb, Free Exercise Clause, Establishment Clause

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.