Board Policies – Section I – Instructional Program
No religious belief or non-belief shall be promoted or disparaged by the district or its employees. Students and staff should be tolerant of each other’s religious views. Students and staff members may be excused from participating in practices contrary to their religious beliefs unless there are clear educational issues of overriding concern which prevent it.
Teaching About Religion
Teachers may teach about religion, religious literature and history, but are prohibited from promoting, expounding upon, criticizing or ridiculing a religion. Religious texts may be used to teach about religion, but the use of religious texts is prohibited if used to promote a particular religious doctrine.
Religion in the Curriculum and School Activities
In compliance with this policy, religious themes may be presented in the curriculum and as part of school activities. Music, art, literature and drama having a religious theme or basis are permitted as part of the curriculum or as part of a school activity if they are presented in a balanced and objective manner and are a traditional part of the cultural and religious tradition of a particular holiday or field of study. The emphasis on religious themes in the arts, literature and history should be only as extensive as necessary for a balanced and thorough study of these areas. These studies should never foster any particular religious tenets or demean any religious beliefs or non-beliefs.
Religious Symbols in the Classroom
Temporary display of religious symbols is permitted as part of the curriculum. The temporary use of religious symbols such as a cross, menorah, crescent, Star of David, crèche, symbols of native American religions or other symbols that are a part of a religious holiday are permitted as a teaching aid if they are displayed as an example of a holiday’s cultural and religious heritage.
Holidays which have a religious and a secular basis may be observed. School vacations shall have secular designations, e.g., Winter Vacation, Spring Break.
Graduation and Other Ceremonies
School ceremonies shall be secular in nature. While recognizing the significance of tradition, the board requires that graduation exercises and dedication ceremonies be secular in nature.
Approved: August 13, 2014