The Leopard

Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

Bettmann/Corbis / AP Images

Aliya Lewis, Opinion Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Public school, by definition, is a school supported by public funds that is free of bias or prejudice nature’s; free of preference toward any specific group, race, culture, nationality or belief system. Unfortunately, many of public schools do not abide by this definition. According to the Center for Public Education (CPE), “…public schools must obey two legal requirements that are hard to reconcile: let it be, and push it away. These are the clashing and equally forceful commands contained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution uses 16 words—known as the “religion clauses”—to create rules about how faith and government interact. One clause gives citizens the right to freely exercise religious convictions; the other prohibits government (including taxpayer-funded public schools) from establishing religion, meaning granting favorable treatment.”.  

 

Due to the religion clause in the U.S. Constitution being so unclear about the specifics and the stipulations that go along with this clause– there is a lot of room left for uncertainty and miscommunication among coworkers and the school system. As a repercussion of this uncertainty, there are many questions that are left unanswered, such as: how far can students or school staff go in expressing their beliefs and when have school officials gone too far in letting religion reign? Since these questions have not been answered or even truly acknowledged, that creates an opportunity for multiple problems to occur within schools. The U.S. Supreme Court gets to give the final verdict when problems like these arise within our education system.

 

There have been, and still are, many problems and disputes that are brought to the Supreme Court for a final verdict. The Supreme has been asked whether or not the school district can or should allow students to conduct prayers over the loudspeaker and before kickoff at a varsity football game (which the Supreme Court decided was not allowed). Whether or not a religious student club gets the same rights and privileges as other student clubs (which the Supreme Court decided all clubs are seen equally and held to the same standards). The Supreme Court also decided that a school district is required to give equal access to outside organizations that provide after-school religious instruction to young children. The Court has also said, in some instances, a moment of silence could, and has been used as a cloaking device for prayer. The Court has yet to come to a final decision of whether or not the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance is unconstitutional in schools.

 

Here, at East High School, the question of whether or not religious preference is a present part of our school’s environment and part of the environment of other schools in Utah’s public school system is a resounding yes. Religion is a huge part of the climate here in Utah, and the schools within this  state. The state of Utah is primarily Mormon or a part of The Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS); 63% to be exact. When asked if religion was a present force in our schools environment, Whitney Watchman, an Assistant Principal here at East , responded, “I think there is a majority of students that are of a particular religion; that religion being The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”.  This school’s student population is a large portion of that 63% of LDS residents with in the state of Utah.

 

Public schools, have the obligation to uphold the Constitution, unlike religious or private schools. Private school is a school supported by a private organization or private individuals rather than by the government; a school supported wholly by the payment of fees. Due to the fact that private schools are supported by funds they create on their own (tuition, donors, fundraising, etc.), they are not held to the same standards as a public school who receives all of its funding from the government. Public schools have their rules and guidelines set in place by the government, whereas private schools are, to some extent able to create their own rules and guidelines for the school and the students that receive education there. Public schooling has somewhat drifted away for the guidelines set by the government. In classrooms, it was unacceptable for teachers to take a stance in a religious conversation that would show their own religious beliefs. At East, there have been times when teachers conversed about such topics instead of teaching the curriculum. There are times when it feels as though other people’s religion is being pushed onto others in a setting  that is entirely inappropriate.

 

Religion is a very large part of the demographics in public high schools. Some choose not to address the problem, but there are some people who choose to deny its existence. Religious preference is a living, breathing part of the school system when it has been decided it is in bad-form. Just because you choose to ignore the rain does not mean it is not hitting the ground and we need to address that religion should not be forced into students lives who choose not to invest in such beliefs.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Aliya Lewis, Opinion Writer

Aliya Lewis is a fifteen-year-old sophomore and a member of the graduating class of 2020. She is originally from California. This is Aliya’s second year...

7 Comments

7 Responses to “Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools”

  1. Lina on January 31st, 2018 10:52 am

    I think that it’s okay to talk about religion in school because that way you can spread certain gospels with unreligious people 😌

  2. Emmanuel Cruz on January 31st, 2018 12:25 pm

    I believe it is alright to talk about religion at school, how it is seen as another part of schools to become more diverse. Allowing more people to as well understand what others belived.

  3. Haliegh on January 31st, 2018 12:25 pm

    In my opinion I don’t think religion should be talked about in school. People may have the same beliefs but not everybody does. If a teacher was one religion and started talking about it then a student with a different religion may feel uncomfortable.

  4. Brandy on January 31st, 2018 12:27 pm

    I think that it could be a good thing but as we see in todays society it may be brought upon other people there has to be an equal playing ground having a right to your religion but also respecting each others decisions.

  5. Sage Wright on January 31st, 2018 12:32 pm

    I really love this article, I do agree that religious conversation should be a conversation to have outside of school.

  6. Sariah on February 1st, 2018 5:06 pm

    Religion is a topic that is inevitable, and unavoidable. At some point, it will come up, whether it’s wanted or not. Some people deal with it differently than others, I think if you’re uncomfortable, you should just tell the person that is talking about it and exit the room.

  7. Nicole Blanchard on February 11th, 2018 4:56 pm

    I just have a couple questions , what are you proposing we change about religion and the school? Are you complaining about teachers who seem to be pushing their beliefs or students? Would you propose the school get rid of religious classes? Or bring more? I don’t want to argue that pushing religion at school could be harmful to the school community, but there needs to be a middle ground, we students need to be able to feel safe to talk about religion without offending other parties, And don’t get me wrong, religion is a difficult topic, but I for one believe it’s because we have made it a difficult topic. I get uncomfortable when I hear others bring up my own religion in school, but that’s because I was told it’s not an appropriate topic. Sorry to rant but I really think we should think of solutions rather than issues.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

    Opinion

    Indigenous Peoples Day Replacing Columbus Day

  • Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

    Opinion

    Guess We’ll Die

  • Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

    Opinion

    High School Pressure

  • Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

    Opinion

    Mormon’s Aggravating Relationship with the LGBTQ+ Community

  • Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

    Editor's Corner

    Editors Letter: Welcome Back

  • Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

    Opinion

    The Corrupted Case of Kavanaugh

  • Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

    Opinion

    Racial Divides in East High School

  • Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

    Opinion

    Is This Kaepernick Nike Ad Really as Bad as It Seems?

  • Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

    Opinion

    Police Brutality Taking Many Innocent Lives

  • Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools

    Opinion

    How Depression Affects Your Academic Performance

Navigate Right
The Student Newspaper of East High School
Religious Conversations Do Not Belong In Schools