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Christian Outreach at Public Schools: Yes, it's legal!

Download Our Free Legal Rights Guide!
This free guide covers everything you need to know about students legally sharing the gospel on their public school campus. Download our guide today to learn about the constitutional rights that protect students' free speech, tips on interacting with school admin, and more!
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,
... So can the Christian Club!

Download the Equal Access Act here.

The Pacific Justice Institute

If you—student, parent, pastor, or school administrator—have any questions about the legality of student-led expression of faith on campus, the Pacific Justice Institute is ready to help. Over the past 16 years, NSP has connected many students with PJI for advice, expert opinion, and even legal action in rare cases. 

The Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties. Pacific Justice Institute works diligently, without charge, to provide its clients with all the legal support they need.

  • Learn more about PJI at PacificJustice.org
  • Dive a bit deeper with one of  their short booklets specific to public schools
    Public Education Religious Rights: choose either California or Illinois,
  • Download this letter to send to your school's principal/superintendent informing them of student legal rights,
  • And when ready, Request Help.
Christian Educators Association International
If you're a Christian teacher or educator, we also recommend getting to know the 
Christian Educators Association International (CEAI). Not only does CEAI specialize in the legal protection of Christian educators, they also provide numerous resources and opportunities for you to be encouraged by, and connect with, fellow Christian educators such as their quarterly magazine Teachers of Vision.
Brad Dacus
President of the Pacific Justice Institute

"We at Pacific Justice Institute count it a privilege to our long history of partnership with the National School Project. They are wisely using their rights under the law to share the good news of Jesus Christ to thousands of students in public schools that otherwise would never hear the Gospel. We look forward to serving and supporting this ministry in the many days ahead."

David Schmus
Executive Director of CEAI

"We love National School Project! We represent thousands of Christian educators who want to see the gospel proclaimed at their public schools but who are concerned about legal challenges. NSP meets them in this place of deep need by equipping effective leaders to advance the gospel, while ensuring their Christian clubs are truly student-led. What a blessing!"
Warren Willis
Founder & CEO of National School Project

“3.3 million students are graduating from high school every single year, many of them without ever hearing the gospel. The mission field of our local public schools is a frontier we cannot afford to ignore. That's why we are eager to partner with the local church, Christian educators and parents to do whatever we can to equip Christian students across the nation to share the gospel with their peers and classmates while it’s still legal.”