Policy Code: JFH
Adoption Date: Tuesday, January 27th, 2004
Review Date: Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
STUDENT RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY
Schools may undertake any instructional activity, performance or display which includes examination of, or presentations about religion, political or religious thought or expression, or the influence thereof on music, art, literature, law, politics, history or any other element of the curriculum, including the comparative study or religions, provided it is designed to achieve secular educational objectives included within the context of a course or activity and conducted in accordance with applicable rules of the District.
No aspect of cultural heritage, political theory, moral theory or societal value shall be included within or excluded from public school curricula for the primary reason that it affirms, ignores, or denies religious belief, religious doctrine, a religious sect, or the existence of a spiritual realm or supreme being.
Schools may not sponsor prayer or religious devotionals. School officials or employees may not use positions to endorse, promote, or disparage a particular religious, denominational, sectarian, agnostic or atheistic belief or viewpoint.
Waivers of Participation
If a parent or guardian, or secondary student, determines that the student's participation in a portion of the curriculum or in an activity would require the student to affirm or deny a religious belief or right of conscience, or engage or refrain from engaging in a practice forbidden or required in the exercise of a religious right of conscience, the parent, guardian, or student may request waiver of the requirement to participate; or a reasonable alternative that requires reasonably equivalent performance by the student of the secular objectives of the curriculum or activity in question.
If such request is made by a student the school administration shall promptly notify the parent or guardian that such a request has been made. If a request is made the school may elect one of the following:
- Waive the participation requirement;
- Provide a reasonable alternative to the requirement;
- Notify the requesting party that participation is required.
If the school determines that participation is required, the school shall ensure that any limitation on student expression, practice or conduct shall be by the least restrictive means necessary to satisfy the school's interest in fulfilling curriculum objectives, or that the limitation satisfies another specifically identified compelling governmental interest. A student's academic or citizenship performance may not be penalized for the exercise of a religious right or right of conscience.
The Iron County School District may require every student to obtain written permission from a parent or guardian as a condition for participation in a student club organization that meets on school premises, regardless of the organization's relationship to school curriculum. All completed forms shall be on file at the individual schools.
Expressions of Belief
Expression of personal beliefs by a student participating in school directed curricula or activities may not be prohibited, or penalized unless the expression unreasonably interferes with order or discipline, threatens the well being of persons or property, or violates concepts of stability or propriety appropriate to the school setting.
Free exercise of voluntary religious practice or freedom of speech by students during discretionary time (non-instructional time during which a student is free to pursue personal interests) shall not be denied unless the conduct unreasonably interferes with the persons or property, or violates concepts of civility or propriety appropriate to a school setting. Any limitations on student expression, practice, or conduct shall be by the least restrictive means necessary to satisfy the school's interests or to satisfy another specifically identified compelling governmental interest.
(Constitutional Freedom in Public Schools UCA 53A-13-101)