Public school systems have become breeding grounds for many debates over the years. With the demographic of students becoming more and more diverse, certain things have been omitted from the school day in public schools. Among these things is any thing that has to do with religion, which some parents don’t mind and others are strongly upset. This debate, however, is no where near a cut and dry issue. There are multiple levels that have to be evaluated when making a decision on religion in public schools. Let’s look at all of the arguments for and against.
The Pros of Religion in Schools
The constitution dictates that every person has the right to practice whatever religion they would like, at anytime and anywhere that they would like. Banning religion from schools is unconstitutional to religious students who want to practice or worship during the school day. Turning freedom OF religion into freedom FROM religion.
Public schools are dealing with some very heavy issues in the recent years. Teenage pregnancy, school violence, school shootings, and drugs are only a few among a large array of problems that are on the rise. Placing religion into schools would help to instill a better moral compass in students at a younger age, effectively reducing the problems in the public school systems.
If religious practices where allowed into the classroom then students would have the opportunity to learn about different religions and cultures first hand. This would help the children to be more accepting and educated on other people’s beliefs.
A Well Rounded Education
Schools are there to not only teach children basic things, but help to mold them as an adult as well. Putting religion into schools would help them to become more well rounded and well adjusted to the world around them.
The Cons of Religion in Schools
Separation of Church and State
Opponents of religion in schools often bring up the issue of church and state. These separation laws are in effect in the country in order to further exemplify the first amendment. Putting a focus on religion in schools is a direct violation of these laws.
Students who are not religious, or practice a religion that is different than the majority of the school, would be excluded from many activities during the day. This exclusion would likely make the student the target of bullying and further prejudices.
Schools Is For Everybody
Public schools are funded by the tax payers of the community. If a child’s parents are not religious or do not agree with the religion of the majority, then they may be highly opposed to paying taxes that fund these religious activities and programs.
Certain topics that are taught in school may cause conflicts within the religious teachings of some religions. Subjects like science and history have contradictory lessons which may invoke confusion in the students.
There is a very thin line between teaching and preaching and many parents feel extremely uncomfortable with their child being preached to about religious matters that they have no control or say over.
Keep It Separate?
The issue of religion in schools poses many questions, but there are no clear cut answers. People’s opinions on this matter are not likely to change anytime soon, making this an issue that is going to be around for a while. The bottom line, however, is that religion is a voluntary practice and students can worship or pray at any time they would like, on their own. Organizing religious activities and prayer directly goes against the first amendment of the constitution when implemented in a public school setting.