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Religious Liberty in the Educational System of the United States

From the 1980s to the Present


Iwona Zamkowska

Nearly a third of religious liberty cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court addressed religion and education. Numbers that high, the problem definitely deserves consideration of international public. What were the main forces that shaped religious liberty in public education in one of its most formative periods? Did the introduction of religious liberty legal framework in public schools advance religious liberty of students as independent autonomous actors? The author discusses this cultural problem from a broad and complex perspective: both internationally recognized theory of a child’s religious freedom rights and the American models of religious liberty. To cover a wide spectrum of viewpoints, she analyses a broad selection of documents, from state and NGO publications to media coverage.

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Primary Sources

Nongovernmental Organizations’ Public Documentation Guides

ACLU Foundation of Texas. Freedom of Religion. Students’ Religious Rights at School. Austin, Texas: ACLU Foundation of Texas, 2011. Accessed 5 January, 2016.

ACLU of Ohio Foundation. Students! Know Your Rights. 2nd edition. Cleveland, Ohio: ACLU of Ohio Foundation, 2007. Accessed May 20, 2016.

Alliance Defending Freedom. “Constitutionality of Prayer at High School Graduation/Baccalaureate.” Alliance Defending Freedom, n.d. Accessed 9 May, 2016.

American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee. Know Your Rights: Religion in Public Schools: A Guide for Administrators and Teachers. American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, 2011. Accessed August 17, 2016.

American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. “Religious Dress in Public School: Know Your Rights.” American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, June 20, 2012, Accessed June 24, 2016.

American Civil Liberties Union of Washington Foundation. “Frequently Asked Questions about the Equal Access Act,” n.d. Accessed August 17, 2016.

Anti-Defamation League. Religion in the Public Schools. Distribution of Religious Materials by Students. New York: Anti-Defamation League, 2015. Accessed August 17, 2016.

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