Louisiana issues guidance for free speech – and prayer – in schools

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WordNews.org) Jan. 4, 2018 – Schools throughout Louisiana  will be receiving guidelines that answer 26 of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to student-led prayer in school.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson released the 15-page document as a valuable resource regarding the religious and free speech rights of students in public schools.

The document, “Louisiana Student Rights Review: Answers to Common Questions about Religious Freedom in Schools,” references court cases that addressed this issue, as well as Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Good News Clubs, which Liberty Counsel represents. Liberty Counsel noted it has never lost a case at any court of final resort regarding the Good News Clubs.

The released guidelines reaffirm that prayers at athletic events are permitted when school officials are not involved but are student-led and student-initiated. Student-led prayers must also be allowed at graduations.

Congressman Johnson said the Constitution and laws protect the rights of students to “live out their faith on campus.

“Religious liberty is the first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights,” he said, “and the next generation of Americans needs to be encouraged to help preserve it.” It’s why he and Landry published the document.

“We hope this publication helps all citizens better understand religious liberty because too many people have unfortunately been misled into believing schools must be religion-free zones,” Landry said. “The truth is our First Amendment rights are not surrendered at the schoolhouse door.”

Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver praised Landry and Johnson for work on the document, which he called valuable guidelines.

“The guidelines are an excellent educational resource that every public school in the nation should have,” Staver said. “Students may exercise their constitutional rights to religious free speech while on public school campuses during non-instructional times.”

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