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60 minutes
  • Civil Dialogue
  • Civil Rights
  • Constitution
  • Educator

• Describe the purpose and scope of the Establishment Clause
• Identify common issues in public schools where the Establishment Clause might apply.

Each professional development module has four primary components: (1) read, (2) watch, (3) interact, and (4) discuss. Below you will find activities, documents, videos, and other materials that correspond with each of the four components of the module. Please complete the activities in the order in which they appear.

Haynes, C. C., & Thomas, O. S. (2007). Finding Common Ground: A First Amendment Guide to Religion and Public Schools. Nashville, TN: First Amendment Center.

  • Chapter 2: “Religious Liberty, Public Education, and the Future of Democracy” (pg. 9-14)
  • Chapter 4: “The Supreme Court, Religious Liberty, and Public Education” (pg. 27-38)
  • Chapter 16: “Frequently Asked Questions about Religious Liberty in Public Schools” (pg. 228-230)

"What the Schools Must Do"

Charles Haynes and Oliver "Buzz" Thomas

(11 min)

  • How does the Establishment Clause help to protect religious liberty for all in public schools?
  • The line between upholding and violating the Establishment Clause can be blurry. How can you determine if a practice or activity violates the Establishment Clause? Given an example and explain your reasoning.

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