We coach high school students at public high schools to share their faith in Jesus Christ with their friends and peers, on campus and during the school day. Believe it or not, everything we coach students to do is perfectly legal, clearly protected by two pieces of US law: The First Amendment and the Equal Access Act
The First Amendment
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” —The US Bill of Rights
The 1st Amendment of the Constitution protects most of the major freedoms that you need in order to reach your school, specifically in two major ways.
Students have freedom of religion. People frequently misinterpret this to mean that government and religion should always be separated, but this is not true. Rather, the 1st Amendment simply says that government cannot interfere with religious practice.
Students have freedom of speech. That means that students can openly speak on their beliefs about God. This freedom extends to communicating through written form as well. Students can personally witness on campus, they can give away Christian materials - such as bibles, tracts, and even flyers that promote Christian events, and students can even wear clothing with Christian messages.
The Equal Access Act
“It shall be unlawful for any public secondary school which receives Federal financial assistance and which has a limited open forum to deny equal access or a fair opportunity to, or discriminate against, any students who wish to conduct a meeting within that limited open forum on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings.” —US Department of Justice
The Equal Access Act ensures that Christian clubs are given the same privileges on campus that every other club receives. This means that...
- If any club can meet on campus as a club,
- If any other club can reserve rooms/locations on campus,
- If any other club can invite guests to attend their meetings,
- If any other club can put up posters and advertise their club,
- If any other club can make announcements over the P.A. system,
Download the Equal Access Act here.