|DeWitt Public Schools|
|Bylaws & Policies|
8800 - RELIGIOUS/PATRIOTIC CEREMONIES AND OBSERVANCES
Decisions of the United States Supreme Court have made it clear that it is not the province of a public school to advance or inhibit religious beliefs or practices. Under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, this remains the inviolate province of the individual and the church of his/her choice. The rights of any minority, no matter how small, must be protected. No matter how well intended, either official or unofficial sponsorship of religiously-oriented activities by the school are offensive to some and tend to supplant activities which should be the exclusive province of individual religious groups, churches, private organizations, or the family.
District staff members shall not use prayer, religious readings, or religious symbols as a devotional exercise or in an act of worship or celebration. The District shall not function as a disseminating agent for any person or outside agency for any religious or anti-religious document, book, or article. Distribution of such materials on District property by any party shall be in accordance with Policy 7510 and AG 7510 - Use of District Facilities and Policy 9700 and AG 9700 - Relations with Special Interest Groups.
The Board acknowledges that it is prohibited from adopting any policy or rule respecting or promoting an establishment of religion or prohibiting any person from the free, individual, and voluntary exercise or expression of the individual's/person's religious beliefs. However, such exercise or expression may be limited to lunch periods or other non-instructional time periods when individuals are free to associate.
Observance of religious holidays through devotional exercises or acts of worship is also prohibited. Acknowledgement of, explanation of, and teaching about religious holidays of various religions is encouraged. Celebration activities involving nonreligious decorations and use of secular works are permitted, but it is the responsibility of all faculty members to ensure that such activities are strictly voluntary, do not place an atmosphere of social compulsion or ostracism on minority groups or individuals, and do not interfere with the regular school program.
The Board shall not conduct or sponsor a baccalaureate service in conjunction with graduation ceremonies.
The Board shall not include religious invocations, benedictions, or formal prayer at any school-sponsored event.
The United States Flag and Pledge of Allegiance
The flag of the United States shall be raised above each public school building operated by the District at all times during school hours, weather permitting. This flag shall measure at least 4 feet 2 inches by 8 feet. A United States flag shall also be displayed in every classroom or other instructional site in which students recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
All students in attendance at school will be provided an opportunity to recite the Pledge each day that school is in session. However, no student shall be compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. No student shall be penalized for failure to participate in the Pledge and the professional staff shall protect any such students from bullying as a result of their not participating in the Pledge.
The building principal or administrator shall be responsible for determining the appropriate time and manner for reciting the Pledge, with due regard to the need to protect the rights and the privacy of a nonparticipating student.
M.C.L. 380.1347, 380.1347a, 380.1565
20 U.S.C. 4071 et seq.
Gregoire vs. Centennial School District 907 F2d 1366, (3rd Circuit, 1990)
Lee vs. Weisman, 112 S. Ct 2649, 120 L. Ed. 2d 467 (1992)
© Neola 2013