MV school board: Policy and Guideline 2270 - Religion in the Curriculum

The following is the Mount Vernon Board of Education’s “Religion in the Curriculum” policy followed by the administrative guideline:

2270 - Religion in the Curriculum

Based on the First Amendment protection against the establishment of religion in the schools, no devotional exercises or displays of a religious character will be permitted in the schools of this District in the conduct of any program or activity under the jurisdiction of the Board. Instructional activities shall not be permitted to advance or inhibit any particular religion.

An understanding of religions and their effects on civilization is essential to the thorough education of young people and to their appreciation of a pluralistic society. To that end, curriculum may include as appropriate to the various ages and attainments of the students, instruction about the religions of the world.

The Board acknowledges the degree to which a religious consciousness has permeated the arts, literature, music, and issues of morality. The instructional and resource materials approved for use in the District’s schools frequently contain religious references or concern moral issues that have traditionally been the focus of religious concern. That such materials may be religious in nature shall not, by itself, bar their use in the District. The Board directs that professional staff members employing such materials be neutral in their approach and avoid using them to advance or inhibit religion in any way.

The Board recognizes that religious traditions vary in their perceptions and doctrines regarding the natural world and its processes. The curriculum is chosen for its place in the education of the District's students, not for its conformity or nonconformity to religious principles. Students should receive unbiased instruction in the schools, so they may privately accept or reject the knowledge thus gained, in accordance with their own religious tenets.

Accordingly, no student shall be exempted from attendance in a required course of study on the grounds that the instruction therein interferes with the free exercise of his/her religion. However, if after careful, personal review of the program’s lessons and/or materials, a parent indicates to the school that either the content or activities conflict with his/her religious beliefs or value system, the school will honor a written request for his/her child to be excused from a particular class period for specified reasons. The student will be provided with alternate learning activities during the times of such parent requested absence.

No classroom teacher shall be prohibited from providing reasonable periods of time for activities of a moral, philosophical, or patriotic theme. No student shall be required to participate in such activities if they are contrary to the religious convictions of the student or his/her parents or guardians.

U.S. Consti. Amend. 1

R.C. 3313.601

Revised 1/6/03

Religion in the Curriculum

The Board of Education has adopted a policy favoring the understanding of religions by the students of this District and the contributions religions have made to the advancement of civilization. When developing or implementing any course of study in which religion is dealt with, the following guidelines should be followed:

A. Course content can neither inhibit nor advance any religion.

B. No devotional practices shall be permitted or requested of the students.

C. The use of art, literature, and music descriptive of the religion is permitted.

D. Complaints by students or the public regarding any such course of study will be handled in accordance with Board Policy 9130.

Course(s) of study including instruction on religions shall be subject to the same administrative reviews as other course material and may not be implemented without prior Board approval.

See here for a PDF compilation of the “Bylaws & Policies and Administrative Guidelines” adopted by the school board.  

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