More and more educators are seeing the importance of addressing not only the intellectual and physical needs of students but also their emotional, social, and health needs.
See You at the Pole™ is a global movement of prayer which is student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led. It revolves around students praying together on the fourth Wednesday in September, usually before school and usually at the school's flag pole. It involves student in elementary schools, middle/junior high schools, high schools, and colleges/universities across the globe. Adults often pray in support of the students on campus by gathering nearby, at their places of work or worship, or at city halls.
For more information, visit SYATP.com
Students can bring their Bibles to school on any day, but, on Bring Your Bible to School Day – usually celebrated in early October – a national event occurs. Hundreds of thousands of students around the country celebrate religious freedom by bringing their Bibles to school where they talk about it with friends and share God’s hope. Go to bringyourbible.org for more information.
Here are seven freedoms outlined by the U.S. Department of Education and quoted in Free to Speak: What the U.S. Department of Education says about public school students' religious liberties.
1. You can pray, read your Bible or other religious material, and talk about your faith at school.
2. You can organize prayer groups and religious clubs, and you can announce your meetings.
3. You can express your faith in your class work and homework.
4. Your teachers can organize prayer groups with other teachers.
5. You may be able to go off campus to have religious studies during school hours.
6. You can express your faith at a school event.
7. You can express your faith at your graduation ceremony.
Download a one-page flyer of these liberties to post on a bulletin board in the teachers' lounge.
To read what you can do to promote greater religious freedom at your schools, click here.
To go to the original U.S. Department of Education Guidelines: click here.
January 16th is Religious Freedom Day - how to commemorate it.
Gateways to Better Education and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) have teamed up to help churches equip families with information on students' and teachers' freedom of religious expression in their public schools.
Two important things will happen because of your church's involvement. YOU WILL:
Equip your students and congregation. Gateways has created a pocket-sized pamphlet entitled Free to Speak. It quotes the U.S. Department of Education statements clarifying seven important religious freedoms on public school campuses. There are 50 pamphlets in a set.
Bring clarity on the issue for local school officials. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has created a detailed letter and stands ready to send it to school officials you designate. They have donated their time to the campaign by offering to send this letter to one school official for every set of pamphlets you order for your church, Sunday school, Youth group, or campus Bible club. You will be able to designate the schools as part of your ordering process. (Your name will not be mentioned in the letter.)
GET STARTED NOW
Here's a simple way to equip your congregation, and impact your local schools with just a two-minute pulpit announcement:
Put a Free to Speak pamphlet in each church bulletin.
NOW IN SPANISH
Honor and pray for the educators in your congregation.
Have stacks of the Free to Speak pamphlet in your church foyer for people to give to students, teachers, and friends during the week.
Let them know that because of your church's participation, school principals in your local schools will be receiving a six-page letter from ADF clarifying students' and teachers' freedom of religious expression.
For example, if your church has 200 people in its worship service and 30 students in its children's and youth programs, we recommend you order one for each bulletin (200), 100 extra to place in the church foyer, and 10 for each student to give away at school (300), for a total order of 600 pamphlets (12 packets of 50 pamphlets. You can, then, designate twelve school officials to receive the special letter from an ADF attorney. (Note: if another church in your community designates the same school official that you select, we will have ADF send the letter to a nearby school official who has not yet been selected. This will avoid duplication and expand the impact of the campaign.)
Here's what you do next to promote greater religious liberty in the schools in your community!
Order Your Free to Speak pamphlets now and designate which school officials you want to receive the letter from the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Give to help the campaign reach more schools. If you don't want to order pamphlets yourself, donate to the National Free to Speak Campaign and we will send pamphlets directly to teachers for you. Working with a national teachers' prayer group, we have identified 80,000 Christian public school teachers. For every donation of $30, we can donate 50 pamphlets and send the ADF letter giving more detail about religious freedom in public schools directly to a teachers' on-campus prayer group.
What Others Are Doing
An attorney from Arlington, Texas, (with 63,000 students in the local schools) wrote:
“My church placed Free to Speak in each church bulletin. I then led the congregation in prayer and was in the church foyer after the service to answer questions from students and their parents.”
A school board member from Florida promoted Free to Speak to her pastor who, in turn, “ordered the pamphlets and asked everyone even remotely involved in the public schools to take a handful!”
“(In our church) we recognized our educators, both active and retired. We then had a retired educator speak about the changes he had experienced in the school system concerning our religious rights. He then prayed especially for our educators. We handed out the Free to Speak pamphlets after the service to everyone as they were leaving, making sure the teachers received extra copies to hand out at school.
1. The Free to Speak pamphlet focuses mainly on students. What about teachers’ freedom of expression?
Of the seven points quoted in the pamphlet, one addresses teachers’ freedom to meet with colleagues for prayer and religious discussions during their free time (such as lunch). As part of the campaign, the letter written by the Alliance Defense Fund (and sent to the school officials you choose) answers six questions commonly asked about teachers’ rights.
2. Can I get a copy of the letter the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sends to school officials?
You can designate yourself as one of the people to receive the letter when you order your Free to Speak pamphlets.
3. Where can I find the names and addresses of school officials in my community?
Most schools and school districts have web sites with the information.
4. How should I distribute the pamphlets?
Churches, civic groups, social clubs, and youth organizations are natural places to distribute the pamphlets. If you distribute them through your church you can place one in each bulletin and have extras in the foyer. We recommend that you get ten copies to each student (elementary and secondary) in your church. Encourage them to keep one and give nine to classmates and teachers.
5. Do I need permission to distribute the pamphlets at school?
Students can give the pamphlets to people at school just as they would in any other personal communication. However, mass distribution (for instance, in the hallways) may be subject to school policies regarding distribution of any flyers on campus.
6. Is the National Free to Speak Campaign an attempt to proselytize in public schools?
The Free to Speak pamphlet focuses on the protection of privately initiated religious expression and activities from government interference and discrimination. The pamphlet contains no religious message. To order pamphlets, click here.