In the recently popular book The Mockingjay (book 3 of the Hunger Games) Katniss and Peeta go through an exercise to bring a sense of trust with each other. Peeta would ask a question and then ask Katniss “Real or not real”, to try to return to that trust Peeta once had with Katniss before the capital hijacked (brainwashed) him.
What does this have to do with anything about raising children in the Public school? I’m Glad you asked.
School for our children starts next week (ugh it is the first week of August and already back in school). I have been praying not only for my own children but also for the teens in our church as they start back to the school year. My own children and most of the youth group kids are in the public school system and I am praying for them to have a wonderful year with many opportunities to share Christ with their friends.
The other day as I was listening to the radio and a song came on about “Prayer”, as it came to the second verse the words were “Well they tell our children not to pray when they walk through the school-house door, according to the Constitution, you can’t do that anymore.” Honestly when I heard these words I though “That is an outright LIE”. REAL or NOT REAL? NOT REAL.
For years I heard it said from respected Christian leaders that the public schools were evil, that children could no longer pray, that students could no longer share their faith, that no Christian had business sending their children to the public school because God was not in any way, shape, or form allowed to be mentioned or talked about. REAL or NOT REAL? NOT REAL.
I am sure there are a minority of schools (especially in more urban areas) that would try to put a stop to the Christian influence in school, however in the majority of schools today students still have every opportunity to share their faith with others.
Children are not usually told they can’t pray when the enter the school.
The Constitution doesn’t say that students can’t pray.
In fact here is a reminder to our students of what the LAW DOES SAY about Christian Students and their rights. REAL OR NOT REAL? REAL.
- A student may wear a T-shirt or Use a pencil with a religious message, Bible verse, or Christian slogan printed on it.
- Christian students are also able to pass out Gospel tracts to classmates during non-instructional time in the same way they are allowed to pass out non-religious materials. This should be done in a way that doesn’t disrupt the normal events of a school day.
- Students can discuss religious matters or pray at any time when they are permitted to interact with other students- before and after school, during lunch, between classes – as long as the discussions don’t constitute harassment of a particular person or group. Any time a student is permitted to discuss non-instruction matters, he may also discuss religious matters, which includes witnessing and praying with others.
- Prayer is protected under the first amendment. A student may pray before eating lunch or silently before taking a test… as long as there are tests, there will be prayer in school.
- Christians are able to read the Bible in school whenever other non-instructional books are permitted to be read – at lunch or during study hall for example.
- Christians may express their religious beliefs in any written or oral assignment. If the views of all other students are allowed, the teacher may permit a Christian to share his views, as well.
- Public secondary schools must give Bible clubs the same privileges as any other school club, as long as the club is led by a student and not by a faculty sponsor. Bible club meetings may include prayer, Bible reading, and singing.
- Christian students may be excluded from a lesson or activity which would “substantially burden a student’s free exercise of religion, and if the school cannot prove a compelling interest in requiring attendance, the school is legally required to excuse the student from that lesson or activity”.
The principle of all these guidelines is that you can not disrupt classroom or school order. It’s not illegal to talk about God or the Bible in public schools. The more you know about your rights as a public school students, the more you will be able to exercise those rights in witnessing to non-Christians and fellowshipping with other believers.
So STUDENTS you have a REAL opportunity to share Christ this year at school. Are you going to make your faith REAL or NOT REAL?