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					Running Head: RELIGION GUIDELINES




                 Religion Guidelines for New York State Administrators

              Mark Carls, Kathi Gimbrone, Jennifer Kless, Kimberly Moore

                              St. Bonaventure University
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                                  2


                                             Abstract

A thorough review of religious aspects of school law was conducted and compiled in an

Administrative Guide. The purpose of this analysis was to document the appropriate usage of

the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause as defined in the First Amendment of the

United States Constitution in regards to religion. Numerous court cases ranging from the United

States Supreme Court, the Federal Appellate Court, and the Federal District Courts as well as

decisions made by the New York State Education Commissioner were documented and cited

throughout the guide. Each section of the guide presents the summary, implications, and case

connections in a clear and an effective manner. In addition, formal school board policies as well

as administrative regulations were addressed in relation to each section. This guide will be

beneficial to practicing administrators as they formulate decisions in regards to religious issues

in education.
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                                       Table of Contents

Section I: Establishment Clause

Section II: Free Exercise Clause

Section III: Prayer & Moments of Silence

Section IV: Student Religious Groups

Section V: Teaching of Religion

Section VI: Religious Observations

Section VII: Religious Symbols

Section VIII: Vouchers

Section IX: Aid to Parochial Schools

Section X: Distribution of Religious Materials

Section XI: Religious Discrimination

Section XII: Pledge of Allegiance

Section XIII: Immunizations

Section XIV: Board Policies

Section XV: Administrative Regulations
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                                    4


                     Religion Guidelines for New York State Administrators

The Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United
States Constitution primarily govern the role of religion in the public schools (New York State
School Boards Association [NYSSBA], 2010, p. 757, School Law § 36:1). The Establishment
Clause “prohibits the state from passing laws that aid a religion or show preference for one
religion over another” (Essex, 2012, p. 15). The Free Exercise Clause “prohibits the state from
interfering with individual religious freedoms” (Essex, 2012, p. 15). The “combined effect of
these two clauses compels public schools as state agencies to maintain a neutral position in their
daily operation regarding religious matters” (Essex, 2012, p. 15). This means that “the state can
neither aid nor inhibit religion – it must adhere to the principle of neutrality” (Essex, 2012, p.
15).

                          SECTION I: ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE

1. ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE:

Establishment Clause states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion. It has been interpreted to require the separation of church and state and is applicable to
the states and their subdivisions, including school districts” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 757, School
Law § 36:2). This clause “prohibits the state from passing laws that aid a religion or show
preference for one religion over another” (Essex, 2012, p. 15).

United States Supreme Court:
    Courts have ruled that the Establishment Clause “requires that government pursue a
      course of complete neutrality toward religion, and not promote religion or entangle itself
      in religious matters” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 757, School Law § 36:2).
      - McCreary Cnty. v. ACLU, 545 U.S. 844 (2005)
      - BOE of the Kiryas Joel Village Sch. Dist. v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687 (1994)
      - Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)
      - Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985)
      - Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228 (1982), rehg denied, 457 U.S. 1111 (1982)
    However, “not all governmental conduct that confers a benefit on or gives special
      recognition to religion is automatically prohibited as it depends on all the circumstances
      surrounding the particular church-state relationship” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 757, School
      Law § 36:2).
      - Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984)

2. ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE: STANDARDS USED TO DETERMINE

The “standard to determine whether governmental action violates the separation of church and
state principles of the Establishment Clause is the Lemon test, a three-pronged test established by
the United States Supreme Court and named after the lawsuit that gave rise to it” (NYSSBA,
2010, p. 758, School Law § 36:5). “To be constitutional, an action: (1) must not have a religious
purpose; (2) must not have a principal or primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion; and
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                              5


(3) must not foster excessive government entanglement with religion” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 758,
School Law § 36:5).
       - Lemon v. Kurtzman, (403 U.S. 602 (1971), rehg denied, 404 U.S. 876 (1971), on
         remand, 348 F.Supp. 300 (E.D. Pa. 1972), affd, 411 U.S. 192 (1973)

United States Supreme Court:
    “Court has decided a number of cases without reference to the Lemon test” (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 758, School Law § 36:5).
      - BOE of the Kiryas Joel Village Sch. Dist. v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687 (1994)
      - Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills Sch. Dist., 509 U.S. 1 (1993)
      - Lambs Chapel v. Center Moriches UFSD, 508 U.S. 384 (1993), remanded without
        op.,17 F.3d 1425 (2d Cir. 1994)
      - Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)
    “While several justices have questioned the continued appropriateness of the Lemon test,
      the Supreme Court as a whole has not overruled Lemon and still makes use of its
      principles as necessary” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 758, School Law § 36:5).
      - McCreary Cnty. v. ACLU, 545 U.S. 844 (2005)
      - Doe v. Santa Fe Indep. Sch. Dist., 530 U.S. 290 (2000)
      - Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203 (1997)
    “High court also uses an Establishment Clause analysis that focuses on global principles
      of neutrality not linked to a specific test” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 758, School Law § 36:5).
      “Under these neutrality principles, the Establishment Clause is violated when government
      acts in a non-neutral manner toward religion by favoring (1) religion over non-religion,
      (2) non-religion over religion, or (3) a particular denomination over another (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 758, School Law § 36:5).
      - Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639 (2002)
      - BOE Kiryas Joel Village Sch. Dist. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687 (1994)
      - Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985)
      - Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228 (1982), rehg denied, 457 U.S. 1111 (1982)

                        SECTION II: FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE

1. FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE:

The Free Exercise Clause states: “Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of
religion” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 757, School Law § 36:3). It “addresses the freedom of individual
belief and religious expression” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 757, School Law § 36:3). This clause is
“also applicable to the states and their political subdivisions, and prohibits government from
restricting the right of an individual to believe in whatever he or she may choose” (NYSSBA,
2010, p. 757, School Law § 36:3).

United States Supreme Court:
    According to the courts this right “may not be read to require the Government to conduct
      its own internal affairs in ways that comport with the religious beliefs of particular
      citizens” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 757, School Law § 36:3).
      - Bowen v. Roy, 476 U.S. 693 (1986)
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       - Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Assn, 485 U.S. 439 (1988)
      Although “government may accommodate the free exercise of religion, it may not
       supersede the fundamental limitations imposed by the Establishment Clause” (NYSSBA,
       2010, p. 757, School Law § 36:3).
       - Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)
       - BOE Kiryas Joel Village Sch. Dist. v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687 (1994)

2. FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE: STANDARDS USED TO DETERMINE

Federal Appellate Courts:
    “Claims of violations of the Free Exercise Clause in an educational context traditionally
      have been measured by balancing the states interest in providing public education against
      the right of the parent, student, or employee to freely exercise or practice his or her
      religion” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 758, School Law § 36:6). However, the “right to exercise
      ones religion freely is not burdened simply by mandating one to be exposed to ideas with
      which that person disagrees” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 758 School Law § 36:6).
      - Leebaert v. Harrington, 332 F.3d 134 (2d Cir. 2003)
      - Brown v. Hot, Sexy & Safer Prods., 68 F.3d 525 (1st Cir. 1995)
      - Mozert v. Hawkins Cnty. BOE, 827 F.2d 1058 (6th Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 484 U.S.
        1066 (1988)
      - Parker v. Hurley, 474 F.Supp.2d 261 (D. Mass. 2007), affd, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir. 2008)
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                  SECTION III: PRAYERS & MOMENTS OF SILENCE

1. PRAYERS/MOMENTS OF SILENCE: SCHOOL BOARD MEETING

The issue of a school board opening its meeting with a prayer “has not yet been answered by any
court with jurisdiction over the school districts in New York State” (New York State School
Boards Association [NYSSBA], 2010, p. 759, School Law § 36:7).

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    Ruled that a school district may NOT open a school board meeting with a prayer because
      school boards are an important part of the public school, and students in attendance might
      feel more "coercion" than at a graduation ceremony therefore the practice is
      unconstitutional (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 759, School Law § 36:7).
      - Coles v. Cleveland BOE, 171 F.3d 369 (6th Cir. 1999), rehg denied, 183 F.3d 538 (6th
        Cir. 1999)
Federal District Courts (outside of New York):
    Ruled that a school board meeting may begin with a prayer as long as the board does not
      show a preference to any one religion (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 759, School Law § 36:7). If
      no preference is shown then the board would not violate the Establishment Clause
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 759, School Law § 36:7).
      - Doe v. Tangipahoa Parish Sch. Bd., 631 F.Supp.2d 823 (E.D. La., 2009)
      - Doe v. Indian River Sch. Dist., 685 F.Supp.2d 524 (D. Del. 2010)

2. PRAYERS/MOMENTS OF SILENCE: DAILY PRAYER IN PUBLIC SCHOOL

Regardless if prayer and/or exercises are voluntary and nondenominational, school sponsored
prayer and religious exercises are unconstitutional (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 759, School Law § 36:8).

United States Supreme Court:
Cases struck down or dismissed by the United States Supreme Court because they violate the
separation of church and state as defined in the First Amendment's Establishment Clause:
    “Daily recitation of prayers, approved by the New York State Board of Regents, over a
        school's public address system was considered unconstitutional” (Essex, 2012, p. 21;
        NYSSBA, 2010, p. 759, School Law § 36:8).
        - Engle v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962)
    Courts ruled that a policy of a Pennsylvania school requiring readings from the Bible was
        deemed unconstitutional, “even if students were not required to engage in such prayers”
        (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 759, School Law § 36:8).
        - Abington School Dist. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963)

3. PRAYERS/MOMENTS OF SILENCE: REQUIRED OR ORGANIZED

United States Supreme Court:
    Struck down a statute that had allowed for a daily one-minute of silence or voluntary
      prayer because the court found that the purpose was to allow prayer (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                                   8


      760, School Law § 36:9). Therefore the statute was ruled unconstitutional (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 760, School Law § 36:9).
      - Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985)
Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    In three appellate court cases since Jaffree in 1985, state statutes were upheld that
      enacted moments of silence because they were not found to be promoting prayer but
      rather quiet contemplation or reflection (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 760, School Law § 36:9).
      - Croft v. Governor of Texas, 562 F.3d 755 (5th Cir. 2009)
      - Brown v. Gilmore, 258 F.3d 265 (4th Cir. 2001)
      - Bown v. Gwinnet Cnty. Sch. Dist., 112 F.3d 1464 (11th Cir. 1997)
New York State Education Law:
    “Allows for a moment of silence in the public schools at the opening of school every
      school day” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 760, School Law § 36:9; New York State [NYS]
      Legislature, 2011, Education Law § 3029-a). This law specifically provides: “The silent
      meditation authorized . . . is not intended to be, and shall not be conducted as, a religious
      service or exercise, but may be considered an opportunity for silent meditation on a
      religious theme by those who are so disposed, or a moment of silent reflection on the
      anticipated activities of the day” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 760, School Law § 36:9).

4. PRAYERS/MOMENTS OF SILENCE: STUDENT LED DURING SCHOOL HOURS

United States Supreme Court:
    No rulings by the United States Supreme Court (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 760, School Law §
      36:10).
Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    “Upheld a school district policy that prohibited faculty participation in student initiated
      prayer in any school-sponsored setting including classes, team practices, pep rallies, team
      meetings, and athletic events” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 760, School Law § 36:10).
      - Borden v. School Dist. of the Township of East Brunswick, 523 F.3d 153 (3d Cir. 2008)
Federal District Courts (outside New York):
    Courts have found this practice to violate the Establishment Clause requiring the
      separation between church and state (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 760, School Law § 36:10).
      Practices that allow student-initiated prayer are perceived as being endorsements of
      religion by the school district (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 760, School Law § 36:10).-
      - Herdahl v. Pontotoc Cnty. Sch. Dist., 887 F.Supp. 902 (N.D. Miss. 1995)
      - Ingebretsen v. Jackson Pub. Sch. Dist., 88 F.3d 274 (5th Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 117
        S.Ct. 388 (1996)
Federal District Court (New York):
    Supported a school district’s decision to stop a traditional Mohawk Indian Thanksgiving
      Address given at pep rallies and lacrosse games over the school intercom system
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 760, School Law § 36:10). The court found that the address
      contained speech that could be interpreted as religious content and as such, an
      endorsement by the school of that particular religion (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 760, School
      Law § 36:10).
      - Jock v. Ransom, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47027 (N.D.N.Y. 2007)
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5. PRAYERS/MOMENTS OF SILENCE: STUDENT DELIVERED BEFORE, DURING,
   OR AFTER SCHOOL SPONSORED EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

United States Supreme Court:
    “Ruled that a school policy that allowed student-initiated, student-delivered,
      nonsectarian, non-proselytizing prayer at high school football games violates the
      separation of church and state” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.761, School Law § 36:11). The pre-
      game prayer would be seen as school endorsed, and students would feel pressure to
      religiously “conform” in order to join in with their classmates (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 761,
      School Law § 36:11).
      - Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000)
Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    Court took a different stance than that of the United States Supreme Court and ruled
      “students do not shed their religious rights when they enter the schoolhouse door” (Essex,
      2012, p. 19). Therefore “any student-led group may [emphasis added] engage in
      voluntary prayer at school events” (Essex, 2012, p. 19). “However, school personnel
      may not direct or supervise students who initiate religious expression” (Essex, 2012, p.
      19).
      - Chandler v. Siegelman, 230 F. 3d 1313 (11th Cir. 2000)

6. PRAYERS/MOMENTS OF SILENCE: STUDENT DELIVERED AT GRADUATION
   CEREMONIES

United States Supreme Court:
    United States Supreme Court has not decided on this specific issue; however, the court
      ruled it unconstitutional for students to lead prayers at a football game” (NYSSBA, 2010,
      p. 761, School Law § 36:12). The court “banned student-led prayer at athletic contests,
      graduations, and other school-sponsored events” (Essex, 2012, p. 20).
      - Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000)
    Allowed the decision in a Federal Appeals Court to stand when they found that the Texas
      school district that allowed each “senior class to decide whether to offer student-initiated
      and student-led prayers at its graduation ceremony [was not in violation]” of the
      Establishment Clause (Essex, 2012, p. 22). “For now, at least, under certain conditions,
      voluntary student-led prayer at graduation ceremonies may be permissible” (Essex, 2012,
      p. 22).
      - Jones v. Clear Creek Independent School District, 977 F.2d 963 (5th Cir. 1992), cert.
        denied, 508 U.S. 967 (1993)
Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    “Upheld a school board policy that allowed the graduating class the option of selecting
      one of its members to deliver a message of his or her choice at graduation, with the
      school having no control over the selection of the student, whether there would be a
      student graduation message, or the content of the students message” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
      761, School Law § 36:12). “According to that court even if the student elected to deliver
      a religious message, the total absence of state involvement prevented a violation of the
      Establishment Clause” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 761, School Law § 36:12).
      - Adler v. Duval County School Board, 250 F.3d 1330 (11th Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 534
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                               10


        U.S. 1065 (2001)

7. PRAYERS/MOMENTS OF SILENCE: RELIGIOUS LEADERS DELIVERING
   BENEDICTIONS OR INVOCATIONS AT GRADUATION CEREMONIES

United States Supreme Court:
    Ruled it is unconstitutional [emphasis added] for religious leaders to give the benediction
      or invocation at a graduation ceremony due to the “potential coercive effect on the
      impressionable students who attend these ceremonies” also that “high school graduation
      is one of life’s most significant occasions [and] a student is not free to absent herself from
      the graduation exercise in any real sense of the term voluntary” (NYSSBA, 2010, pp.
      761-762, School Law § 36:13).
      - Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)

8. PRAYERS/MOMENTS OF SILENCE: SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER DELIVERING
   AT GRADUATION CEREMONY

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    According to the court “a school district did not violate the Establishment Clause when a
      school board member recited the Lord’s Prayer at a graduation ceremony as they were
      engaged in private speech” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 762, School Law § 36:14). Due to the
      fact that “there was no involvement by the district in determining that the board member
      would speak, the autonomy afforded to him in determining the contents of his remarks
      deemed his speech private” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 762, School Law § 36:14). Furthermore
      it should be noted that “under different circumstances, a court might rule otherwise”
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 762, School Law § 36:14).
      - Doe v. Sch. Dist. of the City of Norfolk, 340 F.3d 605 (8th Cir. 2003), rehg and rehg en
        banc denied, 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 20987 (8th Cir. Oct. 16, 2003)

9. PRAYERS/MOMENTS OF SILENCE: BOARD POLICY

Board Policy 7460: CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED PRAYER IN THE PUBLIC
                   SCHOOLS

       In accordance with the most recent Guidance Document issued by the United States
       Department of Education implementing the requirements of the No Child Left Behind
       Act of 2001, the Board of Education affirms the responsibilities of the School District,
       consistent with applicable statutory/case law pertaining to the First Amendment of the
       United States Constitution, to allow students and staff to engage in constitutionally
       protected prayer within the District schools. (Allegany-Limestone Central School
       District, 2011, Board Policy 7460)

       Accordingly, no Board of Education policy shall prevent, or otherwise deny participation
       in, constitutionally protected prayer in District schools, consistent with the Guidance
       Document and applicable law as enumerated above. (Allegany-Limestone Central
       School District, 2011, Board Policy 7460)
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      The Board rescinds any other policy that may be inconsistent with the mandates of this
      policy, which shall supersede any and all Board policies to the contrary. (Allegany-
      Limestone Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 7460)

      United States Constitution, First Amendment
      Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left
      Behind Act of 2001, Section 9524

10. PRAYERS/MOMENTS OF SILENCE: REGULATIONS

Administrative Regulation 8290R: RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN THE PUBLIC
                                 SCHOOLS

      These regulations have been developed to provide guidance to District staff and students
      regarding religious expression in the public schools. Guidance beyond the statements in
      these regulations may be found in four basic principles which would apply to the topic of
      teaching about religion in schools:
      1) Is it constitutionally permissible;
      2) Is it educationally sound;
      3) Is it culturally sensitive; and
      4) Is it age appropriate? (Allegany-Limestone Central School District, 2002,
      Administrative Regulation 8290R)


Student Prayer and Religious Discussion

      The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment does not prohibit purely private
      religious speech by students. Students, therefore, have the same right to engage in
      individual or group prayer and religious discussion during the school day as they do to
      engage in other comparable activity. For example, students may read their Bibles or
      other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray before tests to the same extent they
      many engage in comparable non-disruptive activities. School authorities possess
      substantial discretion to impose rules of order and other pedagogical restrictions on
      student activities, but they may not structure or administer such rules to discriminate
      against religious activity or speech. (Allegany-Limestone Central School District, 2002,
      Administrative Regulation 8290R)

      Generally, students may pray in a non-disruptive manner when not engaged in school
      activities or instruction, and subject to the rules that normally pertain in the applicable
      setting. Specifically, students in informal settings, such as cafeterias and hallways, may
      pray and discuss their religious views with each other, subject to the same rules of order
      as apply to other student activities and speech. Students may also speak to, and attempt
      to persuade, their peers about religious topics just as they do with regard to political
      topics. School officials, however, should intercede to stop student speech that constitutes
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                                 12


       harassment aimed at a student or a group of students. (Allegany-Limestone Central
       School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

       Students may also participate in before or after school events with religious content on
       the same terms as they may participate in other non-curriculum activities on school
       premises. School officials may neither discourage nor encourage participation in such an
       event. The right to engage in voluntary prayer or religious discussion free from
       discrimination does not include the right to have a captive audience listen, or to compel
       other students to participate. Teachers and school administrators should ensure that no
       student is in any way coerced to participate in religious activity. (Allegany-Limestone
       Central School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Graduation Prayer and Baccalaureates

       Under current Supreme Court decisions, school officials may not mandate or organize
       prayer at graduation, nor organize religious baccalaureate ceremonies. If a school
       generally opens its facilities to private groups, it must make its facilities available on the
       same terms to organizers of privately sponsored religious baccalaureate services. A
       school may not extend preferential treatment to baccalaureate ceremonies and may, in
       some instances, be obliged to disclaim official endorsement of such ceremonies.
       (Allegany-Limestone Central School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Official Neutrality Regarding Religious Activity

       Teachers and school administrators, when acting in those capacities, are representatives
       of the state and are prohibited by the establishment clause from soliciting or encouraging
       religious activity, and from participating in such activity with students. Teachers and
       administrators also are prohibited from discouraging activity because of its religious
       content, and from soliciting or encouraging antireligious activity. (Allegany-Limestone
       Central School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                            13


                     SECTION IV: STUDENT RELIGIOUS GROUPS

1. STUDENT RELIGIOUS GROUPS: MEET ON SCHOOL PREMISES & OPENLY
   PRAY OR CONDUCT BIBLE STUDY ACTIVITIES

The federal Equal Access Act (EAA) (20 USC §§ 4071-74) states that public secondary
schools which receive federal financial assistance provide students equal access and may not
deny them use of school facilities during non-instruction time on the basis of the religious,
political, philosophical or other content of the speech that can be expected to take place at the
meeting if it permits a “limited open forum” where student groups use school premises for any
non-curriculum-related purpose (New York State School Boards Association [NYSSBA], 2010,
p. 572, School Law § 27:43). The act also requires that:
 The meetings are voluntary and initiated by the students (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 572, School
    Law § 27:43).
 There is no sponsorship of the meeting by the school (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 572, School Law §
    27:43).
 Employees or agents of the school can attend only in a non-participatory capacity (NYSSBA,
    2010, p. 572, School Law § 27:43).
 The meetings do not interfere materially or substantially with the orderly conduct of the
    educational activities within the school (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 572, School Law § 27:43).
 Non-school people do not direct, conduct control or regularly attend activities of student
    groups (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 572, School Law § 27:43).
 Non-instructional time generally means before or after school (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 762,
    School Law § 36:15).

United States Supreme Court:
    Held that the Equal Access Act (20 USC § 4071) is constitutional even though the school
      argued that allowing religious groups on a high school campus would violate the
      Establishment Clause which prohibits governmental endorsement of religion (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 762, School Law § 36:15). The court held instead that student religious
      expression is private speech, therefore schools are “not endorsing religious speech; they
      are merely permitting such speech on a non-discriminatory basis” thus protected by the
      Free Speech Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 762, School Law § 36:15).
      - BOE Westside Community Schools v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226 (1990)
    Ruled that “an Omaha district did not create an open forum for students speech and, thus,
      need not allow a Bible student club to meet at the high school” (Essex, 2012, p. 30).
      - Mergens v. BOE Westside Community Schools, 496 U.S. 226 (1990)
Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    “Ruled that a public high school’s lunch break was non-instructional time, rejecting the
      idea that only time set aside before and after school constituted non-instructional time”
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 762, School Law § 36:15).
      - Ceniceros v. Board of Trustees of San Diego Unified School District, 106 F.3d 878 (9th
        Cir. 1997)
    Ruled that “an activity period between homeroom and the first period of instruction is
      also non-instructional time” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 762, School Law § 36:15).
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       - Donovan v. Punxsutawney Area School Board, 336 F.3d 211 (3rd Cir 2003)
      Ruled that the “district did not have to accommodate a prayer club at the high school
       because the state Constitution in Washington State contained stricter language regarding
       the separation of church and state than was found in the First Amendment” (Essex, 2012,
       p. 30). Determined that the school was “not required to accommodate a prayer club
       because it did not provide a limited open forum” and thus was not bound by the EAA
       (Essex, 2012, p. 30). Therefore the students’ free speech rights were not violated because
       the district had not created a public forum (Essex, 2012, p. 30).
       - Garnett v. Renton School District, 675 F. Supp. 1268 (W.D. Wash. 1987)
      “Ruled against a prayer group whose meetings grew into loud revivals that involved
       proselytizing of other students” (Essex, 2012, p. 30).
       - Clark v. Dallas Independent School, 806 F. Supp.116 (N.D. Texas, 1992)

2. STUDENT RELIGIOUS GROUPS: USE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES TO GROUPS
   THAT LIMIT PARTICIPATION TO THOSE WHO SHARE THEIR RELIGIOUS
   BELIEFS

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    Ruled that there was no violation of the EAA “when a Bible club was denied access
      because the club restricted membership to Christians, which was in violation of district
      policies requiring student groups to be non-discriminatory” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 763,
      School Law § 36:16).
      - Truth v. Kent School District, 524 F.3d 957 (9th Cir. 2008)
Federal District Court (New York):
    Ruled that the EAA prevents a “school district from enforcing nondiscrimination policies
      that would prohibit a student Bible club from meeting on school property solely because
      the group allowed only Christians to serve as officers of the club” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
      762, School Law § 36:16).
      - Hsu v. Roslyn Union Free School District No. 3, 85 F.3d 839 (2d Cir. 1996), cert.
        denied, 519 U.S. 1040 (1996)

3. STUDENT RELIGIOUS GROUPS: ATTENDANCE BY SCHOOL PERSONNEL
   WHERE STUDENTS OPENLY PRAY OR CONDUCT BIBLE STUDY ACTIVITIES

The Federal Equal Access Act (20 USC §§ 4071-74) states that “school personnel may attend
such meetings only as monitors, not as advisors or participants, and the meetings may not
interfere materially or substantially with the orderly conduct of school activities” (NYSSBA,
2010, p. 762, School Law § 36:16). In addition, “non-school persons or groups may not direct,
control or regularly attend these student group meetings and activities” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 762,
School Law § 36:16).

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    Ruled that “an elementary school teacher can participate in meetings of an after-school
      religious club for children, even if the meetings are held at the same school where she is
      assigned to teach” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 762, School Law § 36:16). This “participation
      does not violate separation of church and state principles under the Establishment Clause
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                                  15


       because a reasonable observer would view the teacher as any private citizen exercising
       the right to religious freedom and speech” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 763, School Law §
       36:17).
       - Wigg v. Sioux Falls School District, 382 F.3d 807 (8th Cir. 2004)
      “Upheld a school district policy that prohibited faculty participation in student initiated
       prayer in any school-sponsored setting including classes, practices, pep rallies, team
       meetings and athletic events” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 763, School Law § 36:17).
       - Borden v. School District of the Township of East Brunswick, 523 F.3d 153 (3d Cir.
         2008)

4. STUDENT RELIGIOUS GROUPS: BOARD POLICIES

Board Policy 7410: EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

       The Board of Education considers extracurricular activities to be a valuable part of the
       program of the school district and shall support these activities within the financial means
       of the District. (Olean City School District, 2011, Board Policy 7410)

Limited Open Forum

       The Board of Education maintains a limited open forum where secondary students may
       meet for voluntary student-initiated activities unrelated directly to the instructional
       program, regardless of religious, political or philosophical content. (Olean City School
       District, 2011, Board Policy 7410)

       To provide “a fair opportunity” to students who wish to conduct a meeting, the Board of
       Education, in accordance with the provision of the Equal Access Act, shall ensure that:

       a)     The meeting is voluntary and student-initiated;
       b)     There is no sponsorship of the meeting by the school, the government, or its
              agents or employees;
       c)     Employees or agents of the school or government are present at religious
              meetings only in a non-participatory capacity;
       d)     The meeting does not materially and substantially interfere with the orderly
              conduct of educational activities within the school; and
       e)     Non-school persons may not direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend activities
              of student groups (20 USC Section 4071[c]). (Olean City School District, 2011,
              Board Policy 7410)

       The Board prohibits student organizations whose activities may be unlawful or may cause
       disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of the educational process.
       Administration is responsible for establishing written regulations governing the use of
       school facilities by student organizations and for limited open forums. (Olean City
       School District, 2011, Board Policy 7410)

Eligibility for Attendance
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       a)     Students who are suspended from school on a day of an athletic game or practice
              session, party, school dance, or other school affair scheduled after regular school
              hours are not eligible for participation or attendance at such events.
       b)     In order for students to attend a school-sponsored function, it is necessary that
              students attend classes for at least half of the school day on the day of the activity,
              unless otherwise excused by the building administrator (Olean City School
              District, 2011, Board Policy 7410).

       8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations
       (NYCRR) Sections 172.1 NS 172.2
       Education Law Sections 1709, 1709-a,
       2503-a, and 2554-a
       Equal Access Act, 20 United States Code (USC)
       Sections 4071-4074

5. STUDENT RELIGIOUS GROUPS: ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS

Administrative Regulation 7410R.2: STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS - LIMITED OPEN
                                   FORUM

       The Equal Access Act of 1984 states that:

       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 (20 USC Section 4071 [a]). (Allegany-Limestone Central
       School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 7410R.2)

Definitions

   1. Limited Open Forum – “A public secondary school has a limited open forum whenever
      such school grants an offering to or opportunity for one or more non-curriculum related
      student groups to meet on school premises” (20 USC Section 4071 [b]).
   2. Meeting – “meeting” includes “those activities of student groups which are permitted
      under a school’s limited open forum and are not directly related to the school curriculum”
      (20 USC Section 4072[4]).
   3. Non-instructional Time - “Non-instructional time” is defined as the time set aside by the
      school before actual classroom instruction begins or after actual classroom instruction
      ends” (20 USC Section 4072[4]).
   4. Curriculum Related Student Groups
      Non-curriculum related student groups, interpreted by the United States Supreme Court
      in Westside Community Board of Education v. Mergens, mean “any student group that
      does not directly related to the body of courses offered by the school.” The Court
      indicated that curriculum related student groups are those in which:
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                             17



          a)     Subject matter of the group is actually taught, or soon will be taught, in a
                 regularly offered course;
         b)      Subject matter of the group concerns the body of courses as a whole;
         c)      Participation in the group is required for a particular course; or
     Participation in the group results in academic credit. (Allegany-Limestone Central
     School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 7410R.2)

     At the secondary level, student groups protected under the Equal Access Act shall be
     permitted to meet on the school premises during non-instructional time under the
     following conditions:

  1) A meeting is student-initiated and open to all students. Student attendance at such a
     meeting must be voluntary.
  2) School employees may be present only for custodial purposes; they may not participate
     or provide sponsorship.*
     *Sponsorship is defined as “the act of promoting, leading, or participating in a meeting.
     The assignment of a teacher, administrator, or other school employee to a meeting for
     custodial purposes does not constitute sponsorship of the meeting.” (20 USC Section
     4072 [2]).
  3) A meeting does not include any activity that materially and substantially interferes with
     the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school.
  4) Unless otherwise allowed by current applicable law, membership shall not be restricted
     on the basis of race, sex, national origin, disability or any other arbitrary criteria.
  5) It is understood that the content of a student meeting is not sponsored by the School
     District.
  6) While students may invite outside speakers to meeting, non-school persons may not
     direct, conduct, control or regularly attend such meetings or activities of student groups.
     A request to meet must be filed in advance with the Superintendent. Once approval is
     obtained, a student group may continue to meet for the remainder of the school year,
     unless such group fails to abide by the conditions stated within Board policy or
     administrative regulation. A hearing shall be provided, however, before a decision is
     reached to discipline or ban a student organization. (Allegany-Limestone Central School
     District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 7410R.2)

Administrative Regulation 8290R: RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN THE PUBLIC
SCHOOLS

     These regulations have been developed to provide guidance to District staff and students
     regarding religious expression in the public schools. Guidance beyond the statements in
     these regulations may be found in four basic principles which would apply to the topic of
     teaching about religion in schools:

     1)        Is it constitutionally permissible;
     2)        Is it educationally sound;
     3)        Is it culturally sensitive; and
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                             18


       4)    Is it age appropriate? (Allegany-Limestone Central School District, 2002,
       Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Official Neutrality Regarding Religious Activity

       Teachers and school administrators, when acting in those capacities, are representatives
       of the state and are prohibited by the establishment clause from soliciting or encouraging
       religious activity, and from participating in such activity with students. Teachers and
       administrators also are prohibited from discouraging activity because of its religious
       content and from soliciting or encouraging anti-religious activity. (Allegany-Limestone
       Central School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Released Time

       Subject to applicable state laws, schools have the discretion to dismiss students to off-
       premises religious instruction, provided that schools do not encourage or discourage
       participation or penalize those who do not attend. Schools may not allow religious
       instruction by outsiders on school premises during the day. (Allegany-Limestone Central
       School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Teaching Values

       Though schools must be neutral with respect to religion, they may play an active role
       with respect to teaching civic values and virtue, and the moral code that holds us together
       as a community. The fact that some of these values are held also by religions does not
       make it unlawful to teach them in school. (Allegany-Limestone Central School District,
       2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

The Equal Access Act

       The Equal Access Act [EAA] is designed to ensure that, consistent with the First
       Amendment, student religious activates are accorded the same access to public school
       facilities as are student secular activities. (Allegany-Limestone Central School District,
       2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

General Provisions

       Student religious groups at public secondary schools have the same right of access to
       school facilities as it enjoyed by other comparable student groups. Under the Equal
       Access act, a school receiving federal funds that allows one or more student non-
       curriculum related clubs to meet on its premises during non-instructional time may not
       refuse access to student religious groups. (Allegany-Limestone Central School District,
       2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Prayer Services and Worship Exercises Covered
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                            19


      A meeting, as defined and protected by the Equal Access Act, may include a prayer
      service, Bible reading or other worship exercise. (Allegany-Limestone Central School
      District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Equal Access to Means of Publicizing Meetings

      A school receiving federal funds must allow student religious groups meeting under the
      Equal Access Act to use the school media -- including the public address system, the
      school newspaper, and the school bulletin board – to announce their meetings on the
      same terms as other non-curriculum related student groups are allowed to use the school
      media. Any policy, rule or regulation concerning the use of school media must be
      applied to all non-curriculum related student groups in a nondiscriminatory manner.
      School, however, may inform student that certain groups are not school sponsored.
      (Allegany-Limestone Central School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Lunch Time and Recess Covered

      A school creates a limited open forum under the Equal Access Act, triggering equal
      access rights for religious groups, when it allows students to meet during their lunch
      periods other non-instructional time during the school day, as well as when it allows
      students to meet before and after the school day. (Allegany-Limestone Central School
      District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)
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                         SECTION V: TEACHING OF RELIGION

1. TEACHING OF RELIGION: THEORY OF EVOLUTION & CREATIONISM IN
   SCHOOLS

United States Supreme Court:
    “Established that a school district cannot prohibit the instruction of evolution” (New
      York State School Boards Association [NYSSBA], 2010, p. 763, School Law § 36:18).
      The court based its decision on the view that evolution is a science rather than a secular
      religion (Essex, 2012, p. 39).
      - Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (1968)
    Concluded that a school district cannot “require that the instruction of evolution be
      balanced with instruction of creation science” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 763, School Law §
      36:18).
      - Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987)
Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    Held that a school district’s application of stickers to science textbooks warning about the
      scientific validity of the theory of evolution violates the Establishment Clause of the
      United States Constitution (Essex, 2012, p. 39).
      - Selman v. Cobb County School District, 390 F.Supp. 2d 1286 (N.D. Ga. 2005)
    “A school district may not require that a disclaimer regarding flaws in the theory of
      evolution be read before the teaching of evolution in its schools” (NYSSBA, 2010, p 763,
      School Law § 36:18).
      - Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish BOE, 185 F.3d 337 (5th Cir. La. 1999), cert. denied, 530
        U.S. 1251 (2000)
Federal District Courts (outside of New York):
    Prohibited the teaching of any theory that conflicted with the Genesis version of creation
      (Essex, 2012, p. 39).
      - Scopes v. State, 289 S.W. 363, 364 (TN 1927)

2. TEACHING OF RELIGION: INTELLIGENT DESIGN

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    “Ruled that a school board’s policy requiring the teaching of intelligent design in science
      classes violated the Establishment Clause” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 763, School Law §
      36:19). “According to the court, intelligent design is predicated upon the theory that
      natural selection cannot account for all of life’s evolution and that an intelligent designer
      must have guided the process” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 763, School Law § 36:19). A
      reasonable observer would view it as just a new form of creationism, a theory that the
      United States Supreme Court has long held is nothing more than a religious belief
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 763, School Law § 36:19).
      - Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 400 F.Supp.2d 707 (M.D. Pa. 2005)

3. TEACHING OF RELIGION: BIBLE TAUGHT AS PART OF THE CURRICULUM
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The Bible can be taught as part of the curriculum as long as the “Biblical instruction is non-
devotional and focuses on literature, history, or social customs” therefore it would not violate the
Establishment Clause (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 764, School Law § 36:20).

United States Supreme Court:
    “Ruled that the Bible may be used constitutionally as an appropriate study of history,
      civilization, ethics, or comparative religion” (Essex, 2012, p. 36). To support this, “a
      national council on Bible curriculum in the public schools was formed to ensure that
      reliable information and legal support of schools’ rights to teach the Bible as an elective
      are ensured” (Essex, 2012, pp. 36-37).
      - Stone v. Graham, 599 S.W. 2d 157 (Ky. 1980)
    Ruled that “an infringement of a person’s First Amendment rights guaranteed by the
      establishment clause, even for minimal periods of time, constituted irreparable injury”
      (Essex, 2012, p. 37).
      - Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 49 L. Ed. 2d 547, 96 S.Ct. 2673 (1976)
Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    “Found a school district’s use of a Bible Education Ministry program to meet its
      character education requirement violated the Establishment Clause because the program
      taught the Bible as religious truth in addition to focusing on themes of responsibility and
      courage” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 764, School Law § 36:20).
      - Doe v. Porter, 370 F.3d 558 (6th Cir. 2004)
    “Found that the account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as presented in the New
      Testament constitutes the central statement of the Christian religious faith” and “that the
      only reasonable interpretation of the resurrection is a religious interpretation” (Essex,
      2012, p. 37).
      - Wiley v. Franklin, 497 F.Supp. 390 (E.D. Tenn. 1980)
    The court used the Lemon criteria to decide if a Bible course being taught at a public
      school presented the Bible objectively as part of a secular program in education (Essex,
      2012, p. 37). “The court held for the school district based on its view that the district
      satisfied the secular purpose requirement by adopting a curriculum that was modified on
      the advise of the school board’s legal counsel” and “that the teachers for the proposed
      Bible history class had been properly instructed on how and what to teach and what not to
      teach” (Essex, 2012, p. 37).
      - Gibson v. Lee Cty. BOE, F.Supp. 2d 1426, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2696, 11 Fla.LawW.
        Fed. D 503 (1998)

4. TEACHING OF RELIGION: LIMITATION OF TEACHER REFERENCES TO
   RELIGION IN THE CLASSROOM

Federal District Court (New York):
    “Upheld a BOCES directive instructing one of the employees to stop using references to
      religion in the delivery of the instructional program unless it is a required element of a
      course of instruction and has prior approval by the supervisor” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 764,
      School Law § 36:21). “The teacher, who had recently converted to Christianity, admitted
      modifying his instructional program to discuss such matters as forgiveness,
      reconciliation, and God” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 764, School Law § 36:21). The court also
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                             22


      concluded that “a public school risks violating the separation of church and state if any of
      its teachers' activities gives the impression that the school endorses religion” (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 764, School Law § 36:21). In order to avoid such a violation, a school may
      prohibit teacher religious expressions and teacher-parent interactions that risk giving the
      impression that the district endorses religion (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 764, School Law §
      36:21).
      - Marchi v. BOCES of Albany, Schoharie, Schenectady & Saratoga Counties, 173 F.3d
        469 (2d Cir. 1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 869 (1999)
    “Found a school district lawfully terminated a substitute teacher for speaking with
      students about her religious views in class after hearing that a student had died”
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 764, School Law § 36:21). “Even if her religious discussion had
      addressed an issue of public concern, the school board’s compelling interest in avoiding
      Establishment Clause violations justified its actions in terminating her” (NYSSBA, 2010,
      p. 764, School Law § 36:21).
      - Rosario v. Does 110, 36 F.Appx. 25 (2d Cir. 2002)
Federal District Courts (outside of New York):
    Teachers have no constitutional right to require others to submit to their views and to
      forgo a portion of their education they would otherwise be entitled to enjoy (Essex, 2012,
      p. 44).
      - Palmer v. BOE of the City of Chicago, 603 F. 2d 1271, 1274 (7th Cir. 1979), cert.
        denied, 444 U.S. 1026, 100 S.Ct. 689 (1980)

5. TEACHING OF RELIGION: MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY PARTICIPATING AS
   VOLUNTEER STAFF

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    “Ruled that a school district violated the separation of church and state when it
      implemented a Clergy in Schools volunteer counseling program because it recruited
      volunteers exclusively from among the local clergy to provide counseling to students in
      school, during school hours” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 764, School Law § 36:22). “The
      district’s failure to include lay professionals well qualified to mentor students concerning
      morals and virtue nullified the secular character of the program, even though the clergy
      were told to focus on civic values, refrain from discussing sex and abortion, and not to
      pray with students” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 764, School Law § 36:22). The absence of lay
      volunteers indicated that the selection of volunteers was based on the fact that they were
      religious representatives rather than on their alleged listening and communications skills
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 764, School Law § 36:22).
      - Doe v. Beaumont Independent School District, 173 F.3d 274 (5th Cir. 1999), on
        remand, 224 F. Supp.2d 1099 (E.D. Tex. 2002)
Federal District Courts (outside New York):
    Ruled a school district violated the Establishment Clause when it arranged a panel
      comprised exclusively of clergy members to discuss homosexuality and religion at a
      program held during its diversity week (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 764, School Law § 36:22).
      - Hansen v. Ann Arbor Public Schools, 293 F.Supp.2d 780 (E.D. Mich. 2003)
Federal District Court (New York):
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       “There is no specific case in New York that addresses this issue” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
        764, School Law § 36:22).

6. TEACHING OF RELIGION: BOARD POLICIES

Board Policy 8330: OBJECTION TO INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

       Any criticism of instructional materials that are in the schools should be submitted in
       writing to the Superintendent. The Board of Education will be informed. A committee,
       including the librarian and Building Principal, will be designated by the Superintendent to
       investigate and judge the challenged material according to the principles and qualitative
       standards stated in Policy #8320 -- Selection of Library and Multimedia Materials.
       (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 8330)

Study of Specific Materials/Conflict with Religious Beliefs

       In accordance with applicable law and regulation, a student may be excused from the study
       of specific materials relating to health and hygiene if these materials are in conflict with the
       religion of his/her parents/guardians. Alternatives may be provided that are of comparable
       instructional value. (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 8330)

       Education Law Section 3204(5)
       8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 135.3

Board Policy 8334: RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN THE INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM

       The Board of Education acknowledges the importance of religion to the understanding of
       society and the richness of the human experience. In approaching the teaching about
       religion in the school, the District will be guided by three concepts when making decisions
       about the appropriateness of activities for inclusion in the school program: the activity
       should have a secular purpose; the activity should neither advance nor inhibit religion; and
       the activity must not foster an excessive entanglement of "government" with religion.
       (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 8334)

       Nurturing the development of knowledge and respect for the rights of all cultural and
       religious groups is a continuing goal of the School District. Students, faculty and
       administration are reminded of the pluralism of religious beliefs and are urged to be
       conscious of and respect the sensitivity of others. (Randolph Central School District, 2011,
       Board Policy 8334)

       Opportunities to learn about cultural and religious traditions should be provided within the
       framework of the curriculum. Information about religious and cultural holidays and
       traditions focusing on how and when they are celebrated, their origins and histories should
       be part of this instruction. This educational opportunity should be handled with great care,
       sensitivity and respect for the feelings and beliefs of individuals. (Randolph Central
       School District, 2011, Board Policy 8334)
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     An environment should be created and encouraged where students of various ethnic
     backgrounds feel comfortable in sharing comments about their religious and cultural
     traditions. No student should be singled out to share or participate in such discussions
     solely on the basis of that student's identification with the cultural/religious heritage being
     addressed. A student's preference not to share or participate in such discussions should be
     honored and respected without penalty. (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board
     Policy 8334)

School Activities Related to Religious Holidays or Themes

     School activities related to the teaching about religious holidays or themes must be
     consistent with, representative of, and congruent with the District's curriculum. (Randolph
     Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 8334)

     In planning school activities related to the teaching about religious holidays or themes,
     special effort must be made to ensure that the activity is not devotional and that students of
     all faiths can join without feeling they are betraying their own beliefs. (Randolph Central
     School District, 2011, Board Policy 8334)

     In planning school activities related to the teaching about religious holidays or themes, age
     appropriate activities are encouraged within the framework of the curriculum. Teaching
     about religious and cultural holidays may include such special activities as parties and
     special foods, if they reinforce educational goals. (Randolph Central School District, 2011,
     Board Policy 8334)

Symbols in the Schools

     The purpose of using religious symbols should be to teach about religious concepts and
     traditions, and to convey historical or cultural content, not to promote or celebrate religious
     concepts, events or holidays. (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 8334)

Music in the Schools

     The purpose of using religious music should be to teach musical concepts, to convey
     historical and cultural content, or to create aesthetic experiences in a setting which
     emphasizes artistic expression and educational value, not to promote or to celebrate a
     religious faith. (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 8334)

Curriculum Areas in Conflict with Religious Beliefs

     Students shall be given the option to be excused from participating in those parts of an
     activity, program, or area of instruction involving a religious theme which conflicts with
     their own religious beliefs or that of their parents/guardians in accordance with applicable
     law and regulations. Alternatives may be provided that are of comparable instructional
     value. (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 8334)
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Implementation

     Administrative regulations will be developed to implement the terms of this policy.
     Further, the District shall vigorously publicize and disseminate this policy and
     accompanying regulations in order to ensure community, faculty, student, and
     parental/guardian awareness. (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 8334)

     United States Constitution, First Amendment
     Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of
     2001, Section 9524
     Equal Access Act, 20 United States Code (USC) Sections 4071-4074
     Education Law Sections 1609(9), 1609(10), 1709(1), 1709(3), 3204(5) and 3210
     8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 16.2 and 109.2

7. TEACHING OF RELIGION: REGULATIONS

Administrative Regulation 8290R: RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN THE PUBLIC
                                 SCHOOLS

       These regulations have been developed to provide guidance to District staff and students
       regarding religious expression in the public schools. Guidance beyond the statements in
       these regulations may be found in four basic principles which would apply to the topic of
       teaching about religion in schools:

       1)   Is it constitutionally permissible;
       2)   Is it educationally sound;
       3)   Is it culturally sensitive; and
       4)   Is it age appropriate? (Allegany-Limestone Central School District, 2002,
            Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Official Neutrality Regarding Religious Activity

       “Teachers and school administrators, when acting in those capacities, are representatives
       of the state and are prohibited by the establishment clause from soliciting or encouraging
       religious activity, and from participating in such activity with students. Teachers and
       administrators also are prohibited from discouraging activity because of its religious
       content and from soliciting or encouraging antireligious activity. (Allegany-Limestone
       Central School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Teaching About Religion

       Public schools may not provide religious instruction, but they may teach about religion,
       including the Bible or other scripture: the history of religion, comparative religion, the
       Bible (or other scripture)-as-literature, and the role of religion in the history of the United
       States and other countries all are permissible public school subjects. Similarly, it is
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                                 26


      permissible to consider religious influences on art, music, literature, and social studies.
      Although public school may teach about religious holidays, including their religious
      aspects, and may celebrate the secular aspects of holidays, schools may not observe
      holidays as religious events or promote such observance by students. (Allegany-
      Limestone Central School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Student Assignments

      Students may express their beliefs about religion in the form of homework, artwork, and
      other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content
      of their submissions. Such home and classroom work should be judged by ordinary
      academic standards of substance and relevance, and against other legitimate pedagogical
      concerns identified by the school. (Allegany-Limestone Central School District, 2002,
      Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Religious Exemptions from Instruction

      Subject to applicable state laws, schools enjoy substantial discretion to excuses individual
      students from lessons that are objectionable to the student or the students’
      parents/guardians on religious or other conscientious grounds. However, students
      generally do not have a federal right to be excused from lessons that may be inconsistent
      with their religious beliefs or practices. School officials may neither encourage nor
      discourage students from availing themselves of such a religious exemption. However, if
      such exemption is granted, alternative activities may be provided that are of comparable
      instructional value. (Allegany-Limestone Central School District, 2002, Administrative
      Regulation 8290R)

Teaching Values

      Though schools must be neutral with respect to religion, they may play an active role
      with respect to teaching civic values and virtue, and the moral code that holds us together
      as a community. The fact that some of these values are held also by religions does not
      make it unlawful to teach them in school. (Allegany-Limestone Central School District,
      2002, Administrative Regulation 8290R)
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                       SECTION V1: RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS

1. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: SCHOOL DISTRICT CLOSED FOR RELIGIOUS
   HOLIDAY

Federal Appellate Courts:
   ● “Declared unconstitutional an Illinois statute that required all public schools to close on
      Good Friday” (New York State School Boards Association [NYSSBA], 2010, p. 765,
      School Law § 36:23).
      - Metzl v. Leininger, 57 F.3d 618 (7th Cir. 1995)

2. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: PLAYS, PAGEANTS, PROGRAMS WITH
   RELIGIOUS THEMES

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
   ● “School districts may acknowledge religious holidays in programs that have religious
      significance as long as these programs also contain some educational or cultural purpose”
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 765, School Law § 36:24).
      - Florey v. Sioux Falls Sch. Dist. 49-5, 619 F.2d 1311 (8th Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 449
        U.S. 987 (1980)
   ● “District policy prohibiting the performance of celebratory religious music at school-
      sponsored events did not convey hostility towards religion because it constituted the
      districts attempt to maintain neutrality toward religion” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 765, School
      Law § 36:24). “In contrast, the policy permitted religious music when presented
      objectively and appropriate for the curriculum” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 765, School Law §
      36:24).
      - Stratechuk v. BOE S. Orange-Maplewood Sch. Dist., 587 F.3d 597 (3d Cir. 2009)
      - Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087 (9th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 130 S.Ct. 1937 (2010)
Federal Appellate Court (New York):
   ● “Ruled that Earth Day celebrations did not impermissibly endorse religion in a case where
      the record showed no one attending the ceremonies worshipped the earth or attached any
      significance of a religious nature to the celebration activities” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 765,
      School Law § 36:24).
      - Altman v. Bedford CSD, 245 F.3d 49 (2d Cir. 2001), cert. denied, Dibari v. Bedford
        CSD, 534 U.S. 827 (2001)
New York State Commissioner of Education Appeals:
    “Singing of God Bless America at a general school assembly memorializing the tragic
      events of September 11, 2001 did not violate the Establishment Clause” (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 765, School Law § 36:24).
      - Appeal of Cayot, 42 Ed Dept Rep 97 (2002)
    “School boards resolution to change the name of its winter concert to the Christmas
      concert did violate the Establishment Clause because it began: ‘We, being a Christian
      community’, which the Commissioner of Education found indicated an unconstitutional
      religious purpose” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 765, School Law § 36:24).
      - Appeal of Sebouhian, 31 Ed Dept Rep 397 (1992)
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3. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: ADOPTION OF GUIDELINES

Federal Appellate Courts (outside of New York):
   ● “Ruled that a district did not violate the Free Exercise Clause of religion rights of an
      elementary school student when it denied the student permission to distribute gifts
      containing religious messages at an in-class holiday party” (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 765-
      766, School Law § 36:25). “According to the court, because young impressionable
      students could easily misinterpret a fellow students’ message, schools must be able to
      restrict student expression that contradicts or distracts from a curricular activity”
      (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 765-766, School Law § 36:25). “The court found significant that
      the student had not been asked to express his views about the personal significance of the
      holiday, in which case he would have been attempting to respond to a class assignment or
      activity” (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 765-766, School Law § 36:25).
      - Walz v. Egg Harbor Township BOE, 342 F.3d 271 (3d Cir. 2003)
   ● “Found it was permissible for a district to prevent a student from selling a Christmas
      holiday candy cane ornament with a religious message attached as part of a class
      marketplace project” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 766, School Law § 36:25). “According to that
      court, the class assignment did not invite the expression of personal views and the school
      exhibited a valid educational purpose in seeking to avoid offense to students or parents at
      a curricular event” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 766, School Law § 36:25).
      - Curry v. Hensiner, 513 F.3d 570 (6th Cir. 2008)
New York State Commissioner of Education Appeals:
    “School district may adopt guidelines for the treatment of religious and cultural holidays
      in the instructional program” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 765, School Law § 36:25). According
      to the Commissioner, “the adoption of such guidelines falls within the broad statutory
      authority of school boards to adopt bylaws and rules for the governance of the schools”
      (New York State [NYS] Legislature, 2011, Education Law § 1709; NYSSBA, 2010, p.
      765, School Law § 36:25).
      - Appeal of Pasquale, 30 Ed Dept Rep 361 (1991)

4. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: THEMES OF RELIGIOUS IN EDUCATIONAL
   PROGRAM

Federal District Courts (outside of New York):
    “The performance of music containing religious content does not within itself constitute a
      religious activity, as long as it serves an education rather than a religious purpose”
      (Essex, 2012, p. 35).
      - Florey v. Sioux Falls School District, 464 F. Supp. 911 (D.S.D. 1979)
New York State Commissioner of Education Appeals:
    When programs include themes of religious significance it is permitted as long as “the
      educational program is generally secular in nature” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 766, School Law
      § 36:26). The “Commissioner of Education upheld a school district’s policy permitting
      religious music and art in its curriculum” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 766, School Law § 36:26).
      These “were taught as part of a genuine secular program of education and the policy
      excused students from participating in those parts of the curriculum which conflicted with
      their religious beliefs” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 766, School Law § 36:26).
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       - Matter of Rosenbaum, 28 Ed Dept Rep 138 (1988)

5. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: RELEASE OF STUDENTS FOR RELIGIOUS
   EDUCATION

United States Supreme Court:
    “Offering religious instruction on a released-time basis in public schools was
      unconstitutional” (Essex, 2012, p. 35). The state “may not permit religious teaching on
      tax-supported public school property during regular school hours” (Essex, 2012, p. 35).
      - People of State of Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. BOE of District No. 71, Champaign
        County, Illinois, 333 U.S. 203, 68 S. Ct. 462 (1948)
    School district may “permit public school student to attend religious centers during the
      school hours since no compulsion is involved and no public school resources are
      expended” (Essex, 2012, p. 36).
      - Zorach v. Clauson U.S. Supreme Court, 343 U.S. 306, 72 S. Ct. 679 (1952)
Federal Appellate Courts:
    “School absences for the observance of religious holidays outside of the official state
      holidays and for attendance at religious instruction are permitted by state law and
      regulation upon written request from a parent or guardian” (New York State [NYS]
      Legislature, 2011, § 3210(1)(b); 8 NYCRR 109.2(a)). “Students may be released to take
      such religious instruction in accordance with the commissioners regulations (8 NYCRR
      109.2), as long as that instruction is not provided at the public school” (NYSSBA, 2010,
      p. 766, School Law § 36:27).
      - Zorach v. Clauson U.S. Supreme Court, 343 U.S. 306, 72 S. Ct. 679 (1952)
      - Pierce v. Sullivan West CSD, 379 F.3d 56 (2d Cir. 2004)
      - H.S. v. Huntington Cnty. Cmty. Sch. Corp., 616 F.Supp.2d 863 (N.D.Ind. 2009)
    “Released-time program unconstitutional that allowed students to attend religious
      seminars and receive public school credit for classes that were viewed as denominational
      in nature” (Essex, 2012, p. 36).
      - Lanner v. Wimmer, 662 F. 2d 1349 (10th Cir. 1981)

6. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: EMPLOYEE RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE

United States Supreme Court:
    “Religious-based restrictions on expression of speech demonstrate hostility toward
      religion and violate the principle of neutrality” (Essex, 2012, p. 46).
      - Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 202 F. 3d 502 (2nd Cir. 1999)
Federal Appellate Courts:
   ● “Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers must make reasonable
      accommodations that allow employees to fulfill religious observance requirements,
      unless to do so would create an undue hardship” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 766, School Law §
      36:28). “An accommodation that allows an employee to attend morning religious
      services but requires him or her to work after religious services would not be reasonable
      for an employee who must abstain from work totally on the Sabbath” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
      766, School Law § 36:28).
      - Baker v. The Home Depot, 445 F.3d 541 (2d Cir. 2006)
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Federal Appellate Court (New York):
    “Ruled that an employer unlawfully discriminated against an employee by firing her
      when she refused to work at any time from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday
      because of the tenets of her religion” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 767, School Law § 36:28).
      “Employers must make a good-faith effort to accommodate Sabbath-observing
      employees, even though an accommodation ultimately may not be available” (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 767, School Law § 36:28). “The collective bargaining agreement required the
      employer to give senior employees preference in selecting days off” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
      767, School Law § 36:28). “The court determined that the employer still had an
      obligation under the law to attempt to accommodate the employees’ religious observance,
      and that the employer had not made any effort to do so” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 767, School
      Law § 36:28).
      - New York City Transit Authority v. Div. of Human Right, 89 N.Y.2d 79 (1996)
Federal District Court (New York):
   ● “Courts have permitted teachers to take approximately five to 10 days off for religious
      reasons, even where substitutes must be hired, as more absences would be considered an
      undue hardship for a school district and outside the scope of an employees Title VII
      protection” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 766, School Law § 36:28).
      - Wangsness v. Watertown Sch. Dist., 541 F.Supp. 332 (D.S.D. 1982)
      - Niederhuber v. Camden Cnty. Vocational & Tech. Sch. Dist. BOE, 495 F.Supp. 273
        (D.N.J. 1980), affd without op., 671 F.2d 496 (D.N.J. 1981)
Federal District Courts (outside of New York State)
    “Authority of a local board of education to employ nuns as teachers and to permit them to
      dress in the custom of their order” (Essex, 2012, pp. 45-46).
      - Hyson v. Gallitzin Borough School District, 164 Pa. 629, 30 A. 482 (1894)
    “Prohibiting the wearing of any religious dress as insignia by public school teachers
      representing any religious order” (Essex, 2012, pp. 45-46).
      - Commonwealth v. Herr, 229 Pa. 132 78 A. 68 (1915)
    “Disqualified all nuns from teaching in public schools on the grounds that their lives were
      dedicated to teaching religion” (Essex, 2012, p. 46).
      - Harfst v. Hoegen, 349 Mo. 808, 163 S.W. 3d 609
    “Impressionable young children would not be indoctrinated by the presence of a religious
      necklace and that it was a subdued expression of religious faith” (Essex, 2012, p. 46).
      - Nichol v. Arin Intermediate Unit 28, 268 F. Supp. 2d 536 (W.D. Pa. 2003)

Title VII and the New York State Human Rights Law (Executive Law 296(10)):
     “Unlawful for any employer to discriminate against an employee because the employee
       observes a particular Sabbath day or days in accordance with his or her religious beliefs”
       (Executive Law 296(1)(b); NYSSBA, 2010, p. 766, School Law § 36:28). “Moreover,
       except in emergencies, a district cannot require a teacher to work on a Sabbath or holy
       day and must allow the teacher time to travel to his or her home or to places of religious
       observance” (Executive Law 296(1)(b); NYSSBA, 2010, p. 766, School Law § 36:28).

7. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: EMPLOYEE LEAVE – PAID OR UNPAID

United States Supreme Court:
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     “Public employees are entitled to unpaid leave for religious observances if they require
      days in excess of personal leave days already provided” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 767, School
      Law § 36:29).
      - Ansonia BOE v. Philbrook, 479 U.S. 60 (1986)
Federal District Court (New York):
    “While dismissing a religious discrimination claim as time barred, the court stated a
      school board met its obligation to provide an accommodation when it allowed a teacher
      to take unpaid leave in excess of his paid leave to attend prayer services on Friday
      afternoons” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 767, School Law § 36:29).
      - McLaughlin v. New York City BOE, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4794 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 22,
        2008)

8. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: EMPLOYEE LEAVE – PAID

There is a difference of opinion among New York State courts regarding the availability of paid
leave for religious observance.

Federal Appellate Court (New York):
    “Upheld a school districts unilateral decision to no longer comply with a collective
       bargaining contract provision that allowed teachers to take paid religious holidays
       determining, in part, that the provision was unconstitutional” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 767,
       School Law § 36:30).
       - Matter of Port Washington UFSD v. Port Washington Teachers Assn, 268 A.D.2d 523
         (2d Dept 2000), appeal dismissed, 95 N.Y.2d 790, lv. app. denied, 95 N.Y.2d 761
       (2000)
    “Upheld a collectively bargained provision that authorized three days of paid leave for
       religious observance leave because it did not specify which holidays could be taken.
       According to that court, the provision merely provided a religious accommodation”
       (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 767, School Law § 36:30).
       - Maine Endwell Teachers Assn v. BOE of the Maine Endwell CSD, 3 A.D.3d 685
         (3d Dept 2004)
Public Employment Relations Board (PERB):
    “Ruled that paid leave for religious observance is a permissive subject of bargaining”
       (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 767, School Law § 36:30).
       - Binghamton City Sch. Dist. v. Andreatta, 30 PERB 7504 (Sup. Ct. Broome Cnty. 1997)

9. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: NEGOTIATIONS OVER EMPLOYEE PAID
   LEAVE

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    “Deemed unconstitutional a negotiated provision allowing for such leave” (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 767, School Law § 36:31).
      - Matter of Port Washington UFSD v. Port Washington Teachers Assn, 268 A.D.2d 523
        (2d Dept 2000), appeal dismissed, 95 N.Y.2d 790, app. denied, 95 N.Y.2d 761 (2000)
    Ruled paid leave for religious observances “is negotiable” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 767,
      School Law § 36:31).
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       - Maine Endwell Teachers Assn v. BOE Maine Endwell CSD, 3 A.D.3d 685 (3d Dept
         2004)
Public Employment Relations Board (PERB):
    “Ruled in two cases that a school district did not violate its duty to bargain in good faith
       by unilaterally rescinding a past practice of allowing employees to take extra paid leave
       for religious observances, finding that it was an unconstitutional practice and therefore
       not mandatorily negotiable” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 767, School Law § 36:31).
       - Auburn Teachers Assn v. Auburn Enlarged City SD, 29 PERB 4671 (1997)
       - CSEA v. Eastchester UFSD, 29 PERB 3041 (1996)

10. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: BOARD POLICY

Board Policy 8360R:

       Subject to applicable state laws, schools have the discretion to dismiss students to off-
       premises religious instruction, provided that schools do not encourage or discourage
       participation or penalize those who do not attend. Schools may not allow religious
       instruction by outsiders on school premises during the school day. (Erie1 BOCES, 2011,
       Board Policy 8360R)

Board Policy 8334: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS - RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION
                   IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

       The Board of Education acknowledges the importance of religion to the understanding of
       society and the richness of the human experience. In approaching the teaching about
       religion in the school, the District will be guided by three concepts when making
       decisions about the appropriateness of activities for inclusion in the school program: the
       activity should have a secular purpose; the activity should neither advance nor inhibit
       religion; and the activity must not foster an excessive entanglement of “government” with
       religion. (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 8334)

District Calendar:

       The days on which members of a religious group may be absent to observe a religious
       holiday (legal absence) will be noted on the school planning calendar and the District
       calendar distributed to parents/guardians. Out of respect for a student’s observance of
       these holidays, teachers will be sensitive to the needs of the student by allowing them to
       make up all class work, homework, and tests without penalty. Parents/guardians are
       encouraged to notify the school prior to the absence in order to assist the staff in
       instructional planning and in meeting the needs of the student. (Randolph Central School
       District, 2011, Board Policy 8334)

Education Law § 3210:
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      Absence for religious observance and education shall be permitted under rules that the
      commissioner shall establish. (New York State Legislature, 2011, Education Law §
      3210)

11. RELIGIOUS OBSERVATIONS: REGULATIONS

Administrative Regulation 8290R: RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN THE PUBLIC
                                 SCHOOLS

      These regulations have been developed to provide guidance to District staff and students
      regarding religious expression in the public schools. Guidance beyond the statements in
      these regulations may be found in four basic principles which would apply to the topic of
      teaching about religion in schools:

      1)    Is it constitutionally permissible;
      2)    Is it educationally sound;
      3)    Is it culturally sensitive; and
      4)    Is it age appropriate? (Allegany-Limestone Central School District, 2011,
      Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Released Time

      Subject to applicable state laws, schools have the discretion to dismiss students to off-
      premises religious instruction, provided that schools do not encourage or discourage
      participation or penalize those who do not attend. Schools may not allow religious
      instruction by outsiders on school premises during the school day. (Allegany-Limestone
      Central School District, 2011, Administrative Regulation 8290R)
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                          SECTION VII: RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS

1. RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS: DISPLAY OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

United States Supreme Court:
    Invalidated a state statute in Kentucky requiring the posting of the Ten Commandments,
      purchased with private contributions, inside public classrooms under the Establishment
      Clause because it lacked a secular legislative purpose (New York State School Boards
      Association [NYSSBA], 2010, p. 768, School Law § 36:32).
      - Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980), rehg denied, 449 U.S. 1104 (1981), on remand,
        612 S.W.2d 133 (Ky. 1981)
    Ruled that framed copies of the Ten Commandments the walls of two Kentucky court
      houses “were illegal and amounted to an accommodation to religion and a violation of
      separation of church and state” (Essex, 2012, p. 28).
      - McCreary County Kentucky v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, 354 F.3d
        438 (2005)
    Held that a monument displaying the Ten Commandments erected in 1962, which was
      located among other secular and educational markers on the grounds of the state capitol,
      served a less blatant religious purpose and served educational and historical purposes
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 768, School Law § 36:32).
      - Van Orden v. Perry, 351 F.3d 173 (2005)

2. RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS: DISPLAYS

United States Supreme Court:
    Allowed the display of religious symbols as part of a display on town property that
      acknowledged cultural aspects of a holiday (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 768, School Law §
      36:32).
      - Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, rehg denied, 466 U.S. 994 (1984)
Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    “Ruled that a school district violated the Establishment Clause when it displayed for 30
      years a portrait of Jesus Christ in the hallway of a public school” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
      768, School Law § 36:32). Court indicated that its decision would have been different if
      the school had placed representative symbols of many of the world’s religions on a
      common wall (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 768, School Law § 36:32).
      - Washegesic v. Bloomingdale Pub. Sch., 33 F.3d 679 (6th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 514
        U.S. 1095 (1995)
    “Upheld use of the city’s seal (three crosses against a mountain backdrop) in a sculpture
      outside a school districts athletic facility, in a student-created mural,” (NYSSBA, 2010,
      p. 768, School Law § 36:32) and on school maintenance vehicles (Essex, 2012, p. 27).
      This imagery was “based on the city’s history and was not intended to endorse
      Christianity” and the logo on the vehicle was not used to proselytize (Essex, 2012, p. 27).
      - Weinbaum v. City of Las Cruces, New Mexico, 541 F.3d 1017 (10th Cir. 2008)
Federal District Court (New York):
    “Ordered a school district to remove a mural depicting a crucifixion that was painted by a
      former student and displayed on a wall in the school auditorium” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
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       768, School Law § 36:32). According to the court “since the mural was patently
       religious, it violated the Establishment Clause because impressionable students might
       assume school sponsorship of religion” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 768, School Law § 36:32).
       - Joki v. BOE Schuylerville CSD, 745 F.Supp. 823 (N.D.N.Y. 1990)
      “Ruled that a school district that sold bricks to community members to be placed in a
       walkway in front of the high school had to allow the placement of bricks with religious
       messages because disallowance of such bricks would constitute religious viewpoint
       discrimination” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 768, School Law § 36:32).
       - Kiesinger v. Mexico Acad. & Cent. Sch., 427 F.Supp.2d 182 (N.D.N.Y. 2006)

3. RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS: FACTORS REGARDING TYPES OF RELIGIOUS
   DISPLAYS

Cited by the United States Supreme Court to determine what types of displays pass scrutiny
under the Establishment Clause (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 768, § 36:33):
     Location of the display
     Part of a larger configuration that includes nonreligious items
     Religious intensity of the display
     Shown in connection with a general secular holiday
     Degree of public participation in the ownership and maintenance of the display
     Existence of disclaimers of public sponsorship

United States Supreme Court:
    “Found that a nativity scene inside a county courthouse by itself violated the separation
      of church and state” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 768, School Law § 36:33). However, the
      “display of a large Christmas tree and a Hanukkah menorah with the message A Salute to
      Liberty outside that same county courthouse did not” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 768, School
      Law § 36:33). “Most notably, the court indicated that a greater level of sensitivity must
      be exercised with respect to the public schools” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 768, School Law §
      36:33).
      - Cnty. of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, 492
        U.S. 573 (1989)

4. RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS: PART OF TEMPORARY HOLIDAY DISPLAY

United States Supreme Court:
    Inclusion of a “nativity scene in a Christmas display, along with a Santa Claus, a
      Christmas tree, a reindeer, a clown, a teddy bear, and other holiday items, does not
      violate the Establishment Clause” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law § 36:34).
      - Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, rehg denied, 466 U.S. 994 (1984)
      - Elewski v. City of Syracuse, 123 F.3d 51 (2d Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 23 U.S. 1004
        (1998)
    School districts “temporary display of religious symbols associated with religious
      holidays does not violate the Establishment Clause if the display is not proselytizing in
      nature and merely acknowledges cultural and historical aspects of the holiday”
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law § 36:34).
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      - Florey v. Sioux Falls Sch. Dist. 49-5, 619 F.2d 1311 (8th Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 449
        U.S. 987 (1980)
Federal Appellate Court (New York):
    Not necessary for a school district “to include a cr 裨 e in a display including recognized
      secular symbols of Christmas, even if the display includes a menorah representing
      Chanukah and a star and crescent representing Ramadan” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769,
      School Law § 36:34).
      - Skoros v. City of New York, 437 F.3d 1 (2d Cir. 2006)
Federal District Court (New York)
    “Village display in a public park of a menorah next to a spot-lighted but unadorned
      evergreen tree violated the Establishment Clause as it appeared to endorse Judaism”
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law § 36:34).
      - Ritell v. Village of Briarcliff Manor, 466 F.Supp2d 514 (S.D.N.Y. 2006)

5. RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS: HALLOWEEN

United States Supreme Court:
    Declined to hear a case regarding a school Halloween celebration however, “a Florida
      state court ruled that the depiction of witches, cauldrons and brooms, and related
      costumes during a school Halloween celebration did not violate the Establishment
      Clause” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law § 36:35). Court “rejected the argument
      that use of the symbols and costumes endorsed and promoted Wicca (a religion based on
      witchcraft and religious principles), after finding that the symbols were not singularly or
      distinctively religious” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law § 36:35). “Although the
      decision is not binding in New York, it might be persuasive to courts with jurisdiction
      over the state” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law § 36:35).
      - Guyer v. Sch. Bd. of Alachua Cnty., 634 So.2d 806 (Fla. App. 1 Dist. 1994), cert.
        denied, 513 U.S. 1044 (1994)

6. RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS: MASCOTS

“Litigation on the issue of school mascots and the religion clauses of the First Amendment of the
United States Constitution has been scarce” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law § 36:36).
However, the “focus has been on whether the use of a particular symbol advances religion and
violates the separation of church and state” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law § 36:36).

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    “Parents unsuccessfully argued that use and display of a blue devil as the schools mascot
      violated the Establishment Clause by encouraging devil worship” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
      769, School Law § 36:36). The court ruled that no reasonable person would think that
      the school authorities here are advocating Satanism when they use the name and symbol
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law § 36:36).
      - Kunselman v. Western Reserve Local SD BOE, 70 F.3d 931 (6th Cir. 1995)
New York State Commissioner of Education Appeals:
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                             37


      “Determination as to the appropriateness of a school mascot rests with the local school
       board with such a determination put aside only upon a showing that the board has abused
       its discretion” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law § 36:36).
       - Appeal of Tobin, 25 Ed Dept Rep 301 (1986), 30 Ed Dept Rep 315 (1991)
      “School districts should examine whether district mascots that are based upon Native
       American themes are inappropriate or offensive” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 769, School Law §
       36:36).
       - Appeal of DOrazio, 41 Ed Dept Rep 292 (2002)
       - Memorandum from Education Commissioner Richard P. Mills on Public School Use of
         Native American Names, Symbols and Mascots, Feb. 5, 2001
       - Appeal of Eurich, 37 Ed Dept Rep 707 (1998)

7. RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS: TEACHERS WEARING RELIGIOUS GARB

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    “Struck down a school’s prohibition against teachers’ religious garb as violating the Title
      VII prohibition against employment discrimination on the basis of religion and the duty
      to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s religious practices” (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 770, School Law § 36:37). “Therefore in order to continue to ban religious
      garments, a school district may have to show that an accommodation of the teacher’s
      wishes would cause undue hardship to the district” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 770, School Law
      § 36:37).
      - United States v. BOE. for Sch. Dist., 911 F.2d 882 (3d Cir. 1990)
Federal District Courts (New York):
    “Upheld the right of a prison guard who was a Native American and practitioner of the
      traditional religion of the Mohawk Nation to wear long hair, because it was an important
      spiritual tenet of his religion” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 770, School Law § 36:37). Therefore,
      “it is questionable whether the OConnor decision is still a valid legal precedent”
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 770, School Law § 36:37).
      - Rourke v. New York State Dept of Correctional Servs., 915 F.Supp. 525 (N.D.N.Y.
        1995), modified by, affd by, 245 A.D.2d 870 (3d Dept 1997)
Court of Appeals (New York State):
    “Upheld a prohibition against the wearing of religious clothing by teachers as this may
      unduly influence impressionable students, and that this sectarian influence was
      unconstitutional” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 770, School Law § 36:37).
      - O Connor v. Hendrick, 184 N.Y. 421 (1906)

8. RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS: BOARD POLICY

Board Policy 8334: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS - RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN
                   THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Symbols in the Schools

       The purpose of using religious symbols should be to teach about religious concepts and
       traditions, and to convey historical or cultural content, not to promote or celebrate
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                            38


      religious concepts, events or holidays. (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board
      Policy 8334)

      United States Constitution, First Amendment
      New York State Constitution, Article XI, Section 4
      Equal Access Act, 20 United States Code (U.S.C.)
      Sections 4071- 4074
      Education Law Sections 1709(1) and (3), 3204(5) and 3210
      8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)

9. RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS: ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS

Administrative Regulation 8290R: RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN THE PUBLIC
                                 SCHOOLS

      These regulations have been developed to provide guidance to District staff and students
      regarding religious expression in the public schools. Guidance beyond the statements in
      these regulations may be found in four basic principles which would apply to the topic of
      teaching about religion in schools:

      1)     Is it constitutionally permissible;
      2)     Is it educationally sound;
      3)     Is it culturally sensitive; and
      4)     Is it age appropriate? (Allegany-Limestone Central School Board of Education,
      2011, Administrative Regulation 8290R)

Student Dress

      Schools enjoy substantial discretion in adopting rules and regulations relating to student
      dress and school uniforms. Students generally have no federal right to be exempted from
      religiously neutral and generally applicable school dress rules based on their religious
      beliefs or practices; however, school may not single out religious attire in general, or
      attire of a particular religion, for prohibition or regulation. Students may display
      religious messages on items of clothing to the same extent that they are permitted to
      display other comparable messages. Religious messages may not be singled out for
      expression, but rather are subject to the same rules as generally apply to comparable
      messages. (Allegany-Limestone Central School Board of Education, 2011,
      Administrative Regulation 8290R)
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                                  SECTION VIII: VOUCHERS

1. VOUCHERS: PUBLICLY-FUNDED VIOLATE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE?

United States Supreme Court:
    According to the United States Supreme Court “Government aid program is not readily
      subject to challenge under the Establishment Clause, if it is neutral with respect to
      religion and provides assistance directly to a broad class of citizens who, in turn, direct
      government aid to religious schools wholly as a result of their own genuine and
      independent private choice” (New York State School Boards Association [NYSSBA],
      2010, p. 770, School Law § 36:38). Furthermore “Under such a program, government
      aid reaches the religious institutions only by way of the deliberate choices of numerous
      individual recipients” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 770, School Law § 36:38). In addition the
      “incidental advancement of a religious mission, or the perceived endorsement of a
      religious message, is reasonably attributable to the individual aid recipients not the
      government, whose role ends with the disbursement of benefits” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
      770, School Law § 36:38).
      - Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639 (2002)
Federal Appellate Court (outside New York):
    “Invalidated state voucher programs based on state constitutional grounds” (NYSSBA,
      2010, p. 770, School Law § 36:38).
      - Bush v. Holmes, 919 So. 2d 392 (Fla. 2006)

2. VOUCHERS: BLAINE AMENDEMENT

New York State Constitution Article 11, Section 3 (Blaine Amendment):

“Provides that neither the state nor any state subdivision, which includes school districts, may
authorize the use of its property, credit or public funds, directly or indirectly, to assist any school
under the control of any religious denomination or which teaches any denominational tenet or
doctrine” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 757, School Law § 36:4). The purpose of this article is “to
prevent state aid to religion, but the article has been interpreted as not prohibiting every state
action that may provide some benefit to religious schools” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 757, School Law
§ 36:4). This article “specifically exempts the transportation of students to and from nonpublic
schools, and the districts examination or inspection of such schools” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 757,
School Law § 36:4).
- BOE. v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236 (1968)

United State Supreme Court:
    No ruling yet “directly on the validity of state constitutional provisions that are stricter
      than the Establishment Clause” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 758, School Law § 36:4).
      - Locke v. Davey, 540 U.S. 712 (2004)
      - Witters v. Washington Dept of Servs., 474 U.S. 481 (1986)
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                          40


                     SECTION IX: AID TO PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS

1. RELIGION: AID TO PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS:

United State Supreme Court:
    Court held that “it was an unconstitutional establishment of religion for public
      school teachers to provide remedial classes in religious schools” that were
      federally funded by Title I (Essex, 2012, p. 25). Therefore “school districts
      purchased mobile classrooms and leased land” in order to provide these services
      to the parochial students (Essex, 2012, p. 25).
      - Aguilar v. Felton, 473 U.S. 402 (1995)
    Court “revised its previous decision in Aguilar by ruling that the Constitution
      does not prohibit Title I from servicing eligible religious school students on their
      premises” (Essex, 2012, p. 25). Therefore “the church – state barriers to Title I
      services no longer exist as these services can be provided to parochial students
      without offending church – state constitutional prohibitions” (Essex, 2012, p. 25).
      - Agostini v. Felton, 473 U.S. 402, 105 S.Ct. 3232, 87 L. Ed. 2d 290 (1995)
    Deemed that “school districts loan of federally-funded educational materials such
      as computers and other instructional equipment to parochial schools does not
      violate the Establishment Clause” (New York School Boards Association
      [NYSSBA], 2010, p. 770, School Law § 36:38; Essex, 2012, p. 26).
      - Mitchell v. Helms, 530 U.S. 793 (2000)
    Held that “a law providing a state subsidy for nonpublic-school teachers’ salaries
      is unconstitutional, even when the funds are paid only to teachers of secular
      subjects” (Essex, 2012, p. 26). In this consolidated case from the United States
      District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and from the United States
      District Court for the District of Rhode Island, appellant citizens and taxpayers
      had challenged state statutes that provided aid to church-related elementary and
      secondary schools as a violation of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses
      of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
      Amendment (Essex, 2012, p. 26).
      - Lemon v. Kurtzman & Early v. Dicenso, 403 U.S. 602, 91 S. Ct. 2105 (1971)
    Ruling “referenced the famous Lemon Test in deciding on the constitutionality of
      certain practices involving public and parochial schools” (Essex, 2012, p. 26).
      “Based on the Lemon standards, it was determined that a law must meet the
      following criteria to be legally valid regarding religion: it must have a secular
      purpose, it must neither advance nor inhibit religion, it must not create excessive
      entanglement” (Essex, 2012, p. 26).
      - Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 91 S. Ct. 2105 (1971)
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                             41


               SECTION X: DISTRIBUTION OF RELIGIOUS MATERIAL

1. DISTRIBUTION OF RELIGIOUS MATERIAL

The principle of neutrality “commands that schools assume a neutral position, neither supporting
religion nor prohibiting individual students from exercising their religious rights” (Essex, 2012,
p. 41).

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    The Eleventh Circuit Court affirmed a lower court’s decision that an elementary student
      did have the right to distribute religious pamphlets to her classmates (Essex, 2012, p. 41).
      The pamphlets did not “interfere materially or substantially with school operations;” thus,
      if not distributed, the student’s free exercise of religion would be violated (Essex, 2012,
      p. 41).
      - Johnson-Loehner v. O’Brien, 859 F. Supp. 575 (M.D. Fla. 1994)
    In New Jersey, the court struck down the distribution of Gideon Bibles that were
      distributed throughout the public schools even though the Bibles were distributed to
      students who had parental consent (Essex, 2012, p. 41). The court ruled this distribution
      showed “preference for one religion over others, and violated the Establishment Clause”
      (Essex, 2012, p. 41).
      - Tudor v. BOE of Borough of Rutherford, 14 N.J. 31, 100 A. 2d (1953), cert. den., 348
        U.S. 816, 75 S.Ct. 25, 99L Ed. 664 (1954)
    Court held in favor of the district’s policy of allowing Bibles to be distributed once a year
      on the sidewalk and off of school property because of the schools’ open forum policy any
      group could use the sidewalks after school hours (Essex, 2012, p. 42). Even though on
      one occasion the Bibles ended up in the hallways, there was no “evidence that the district
      played any role in the activity” (Essex, 2012, p. 42).
      - Schanou v. Lancaster County School District No. 160, 863 F. Supp. 1048 D. Neb.
        (1994)

2. DISTRIBUTION OF RELIGIOUS MATERIAL: ADMINISTRATIVE
   REGULATIONS

Administrative Regulation 8290R: RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN THE PUBLIC
                                 SCHOOLS

       These regulations have been developed to provide guidance to District staff and students
       regarding religious expression in the public schools. Guidance beyond the statements in
       these regulations may be found in four basic principles which would apply to the topic of
       teaching about religion in schools:

       1)     Is it constitutionally permissible;
       2)     Is it educationally sound;
       3)     Is it culturally sensitive; and
       4)     Is it age appropriate? (Allegany-Limestone Central School Board of Education,
       2011, Administrative Regulation 8290R)
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                              42



Religious Literature

      Students have a right to distribute religious literature to their schoolmates on the same
      terms as they are permitted to distribute other literature that is unrelated to school
      curriculum or activities. Schools may impose the same reasonable time, place, and
      manner or other constitutional restrictions on distribution of religious literature as they do
      on non-school literature generally, but they may not single out religious literature for
      special regulation. (Allegany-Limestone Central School Board of Education, 2011,
      Administrative Regulation 8290R)
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                            43


                     SECTION XI: RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION

First Amendment and Title VII protection:

School districts are not to discriminate against individuals from “obtaining or retaining
employment” based on religious beliefs (New York State School Boards Association
[NYSSBA], 2010, p. 239, School Law § 11:111). Under Title VII, this includes “all aspects of
religious observances, practices, and beliefs” (Essex, 2012, p. 236).

1. RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION: TIME OFF FOR TEACHERS TO
   COMMEMORATE RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS OR OBSERVATIONS

United States Supreme Court:
    A school district is required “by law to make reasonable accommodations for teachers
      and other district employees who desire time off for religious observances, but if the
      district can demonstrate “undue hardship” to the district, the time off can be denied”
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 239, School Law § 11:111).
      - Ansonia BOE v. Philbrook, 479 U.S. 60 (1986)
      - Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963)
      - Transworld Airlines Inc. v. Hardison, 432 U.S. 63, 97 S.Ct. 2264 (1977)

2. RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION: ABSENCES TAKEN FOR RELIGIOUS
   OBSERVATIONS

Federal District Court (New York):
    "As practicable in its reasonable judgment, an employer may require employees to make
      up an absence resulting from a religious accommodation with an equivalent amount of
      time and work at some other mutually convenient time" (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 239, School
      Law § 11:112).
      - Executive Law § 296 (10)(a-d)

3. RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION: CONTRACTUAL PROVISION FOR
   OBSERVANCE OF RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS

Federal Appellate Courts (outside New York):
    Split decisions in courts as to whether or not school districts must “recognize a provision
      in a collective bargaining agreement that authorized teachers to take as paid leave any
      religious holidays designated by the commissioner of education, without charging the
      leave time to any of their leave accruals” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 240, School Law §
      11:113).
      - Port Washington UFSD v. Port Wash. Teachers Ass’n, 268 A.D.2d 523 (2d Deptt)
        appeal denied, 95N.Y.2d 761 (2000)
      - Auburn Enlarged City Sch. Dist., 30 PERB ¶ 3033 (1997)
      - Eastchester UFSD, 29 PERB ¶ 3041
      - Maine-Endwell Teachers’ Assn v. BOE of Maine-Endell CSD, 3 A.D.3d 685 (3d Dept
        2004)
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                                44



4. RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION: CLERGY AS SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS

United States Supreme Court:
    Ruled that any clergy who “meet all statutory qualifications to run for public office, may
      not be banned from those public positions” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 17, School Law § 2:16).
      - McDaniel v. Paty, 435 U.S. 618 (1978)

5. RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION: BOARD POLICY

Board Policy 6120: EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

       It is the policy of this District to provide, through a positive and effective program, equal
       opportunities for employment, retention and advancement of all people regardless of
       race, color, creed, religion, national origin, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation,
       age, marital status, military status, veteran status, disability, predisposing genetic
       characteristics, use of a recognized guide dog, hearing dog or service dog, or domestic
       violence victim status. (Allegany-Limestone Central School Board of Education, 2011,
       Board Policy 6120)

       Sexual orientation is defined as heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality,
       whether actual or perceived. (Allegany-Limestone Central School Board of Education,
       2011, Board Policy 6120)

       The term "military status" means a person's participation in the military service of the
       United States or the military service of the state, including but not limited to, the armed
       forces of the United States, the army national guard, the air national guard, the New York
       naval militia, the New York guard, and such additional forces as may be created by the
       federal or state government as authorized by law. (Allegany-Limestone Central School
       Board of Education, 2011, Board Policy 6120)

       Provisions will be provided for the publication and dissemination, internally and
       externally of this policy to ensure its availability to interested citizens and groups.
       (Allegany-Limestone Central School Board of Education, 2011, Board Policy 6120)

       Additionally, administration shall establish grievance procedures that provide for the
       prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging discrimination. Those intending to
       file a grievance due to alleged discrimination must follow the grievance procedure as
       established by the District. (Allegany-Limestone Central School Board of Education,
       2011, Board Policy 6120)

       Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 United States Code (USC) Section 2000d et
       seq. (Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.)
       Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 United States Code (USC) Section 2000e et
       seq. (Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.)
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                               45


      Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 United States Code (USC) Section
      1681 Civil Rights Law Section 40-c
      Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual
      orientation, marital status or disability.
      Civil Service Law Section 75-B
      Executive Law Section 290 et seq.
      Prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual
      orientation, disability, military status, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status,
      use of a recognized guide dog, hearing dog or service dog, or domestic violence victim
      status. (Allegany-Limestone Central School Board of Education, 2011, Board Policy
      6120)

6. RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION: ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS

Administrative Regulation: 6122
General Statement:

      The Allegany-Limestone Central School District does not discriminate on the basis of
      sex, age, veteran or marital status, political affiliation, race, creed or religion, color,
      national origin, or disability in the employment and educational opportunities it offers,
      including vocational educational opportunities as required by Title IX of the 1972
      Educational Amendments and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (Allegany-
      Limestone Central School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 6122)

      Guidelines: Employees of the Allegany-Limestone Central School District are protected
      from discrimination in the following areas:

   1. Access to employment including: recruitment policies and practices; advertising;
      application procedures; testing and interviewing practices.
   2. Hiring and promotion including: selection practices; application of nepotism policies;
      demotion, layoff, termination; tenure.
   3. Compensation including: wages and salaries; extra compensations.
   4. Job assignments including: classification and position descriptions; lines of progression;
      seniority lists; assignment and placement.
   5. Leaves of absence including: leaves for temporary disability; childbearing leave and
      related medical conditions; childrearing leave.
   6. Fringe benefits including: insurance plans; retirement plans; vacation time; travel
      opportunities; selection and support for training; employer-sponsored programs.
   7. Labor organization contracts or professional agreements. (Allegany-Limestone Central
      School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 6122)
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                                  46


                        SECTION XII: PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

1. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: ABSTAINING FROM RECITING

United States Supreme Court:
    Ruled that requiring teachers and students to stand in salute of the flag and recite the
      Pledge of Allegiance against their religious beliefs constituted a violation of their rights
      under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution
      (New York State School Boards Association [NYSSBA], 2010, p. 574, School Law §
      27:50).
      - West Virginia State BOE v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)
    “Dismissed, on procedural grounds, a lawsuit claiming that reciting the Pledge of
      Allegiance violates the Establishment Clause of the federal constitution to require
      students to listen daily to the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, because the Pledge
      contains the words One Nation, Under God within its text” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 574,
      School Law § 27:50). Therefore “by declining to rule on the merits of the claim, the
      court left the substantive constitutional question for another day” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
      574, School Law § 27:50). This ruling preserved the “contested phrase “one nation under
      God” in the Pledge of Allegiance” (Essex, 2012, p. 43).
      - Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1 (2004)
Federal District Court (outside of New York):
    “Held subsequent to Newdow’s initial challenge that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in
      public schools is unconstitutional” (Essex, 2012, p. 43). “Ruled that this pledge’s
      reference to “one nation under God” violates students’ right to be free from a coercive
      requirement to affirm God” (Essex, 2012, p. 43).
      - Newdow v. United States, 315 F. 3d 495 (C.A. 9, 2002)
Federal District Court (New York):
    Ruled that “those refusing to salute the flag may not be required to either stand or leave
      the room,” stating that “the act of standing itself is a gesture of acceptance and the option
      of leaving the room is punishment for nonparticipation” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 574, School
      Law § 27:50).
      - Goetz v. Ansell, 477 F.2d 636 (2d Cir. 1973)

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: BOARD POLICY

Board Policy 8420: PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

       The Board directs the administration to include the salute to the flag and Pledge of
       Allegiance as part of the daily opening exercises in all the schools. (Olean City School
       District, 2011, Board Policy 8420)

       The Board of Education recognizes that students have the right to abstain from reciting
       the pledge and teachers have the right to stand silently during the daily recitation of the
       pledge. (Olean City School District, 2011, Board Policy 8420)

       Education Law Section 802
RELIGION GUIDELINES                             47


     8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations
     (NYCRR) Section 108.5
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                             48


                          SECTION XIII: IMMUNIZATIONS

1. IMMUNIZATIONS: SUBMIT PROFF OF IMMUNIZATION

     Every student entering or attending public school must be immunized, as required by
     section 2164 of the Public Health Law (914). In accordance with that law, public school
     students must be immunized against poliomyelitis, mumps, measles, diphtheria, rubella,
     varicella, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pertussis, tetanus, pneumococcal disease,
     and hepatitis B (Public Health Law 2164(2)(a); 10 NYCRR 66-1.1, 66-1.3; 8 NYCRR
     136.3(c)(2)). (New York State School Boards Association [NYSSBA], 2010, p. 399,
     School Law § 20:13)

     Furthermore, children born on or after January 1, 1994, and entering sixth grade or
     comparable age special education program on or after September 1, 2007, must receive a
     booster immunization containing a vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and a cellular pertussis
     (Public Health Law 2164(2)(b)). (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 399, School Law § 20:13)

     In addition, school districts must participate in surveys and audits directed by the New
     York State Commissioner of Health regarding the immunization level of children
     entering and attending school, and provide any records or reports required for that
     purpose ( 914(3); Public Health Law 613(2), 2168). (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 399, School
     Law § 20:13)

2. IMMUNIZATIONS: FAILING TO SUBMIT PROOF OF IMMUNIZATION

     If a student fails to submit proof of immunization, the school principal must inform the
     students’ parents of the necessity to have the student immunized, that the required
     immunizations may be administered by any health practitioner, or at no cost by the
     county health officer upon parental consent. The students parents also must be informed
     that, as a pre-requisite for their child’s admission to, or continued attendance at, school,
     they must either choose a health practitioner to administer the immunization, or provide
     consent for the county health officer, or a school physician or nurse to administer the
     immunization, unless they state a valid reason for withholding such consent (Public
     Health Law 2164(6)). (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 399-400, School Law § 20:14)

     No child may be admitted to, or allowed to attend, school for more than 14 days without
     an appropriate immunization certificate or other acceptable evidence of immunization. A
     school principal may extend this period to 30 days on a case-by-case basis when a student
     has transferred from another state or country and can show a good faith effort to get the
     necessary certificate or other evidence of immunization (Public Health Law 2164(7)(a)).
     (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 399-400, School Law § 20:14)

     In addition, a school principal must report to the local health authority the name and
     address of any student refused admission or continued attendance for lack of proof of
     immunizations. The principal also must notify the students parents of any such
     exclusion, provide them with an immunization consent form, and cooperate with the local
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       health authority in scheduling a time and place for immunizing a child for whom consent
       has been obtained (Public Health Law 2164(8-a)(a)). (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 399-400,
       School Law § 20:14)

       A student may appeal a denial of admission to, or continued attendance at, school to the
       commissioner of education (Public Health Law 2164(7)(b)). (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 399-
       400, School Law § 20:14)

3. IMMUNIZATIONS: EXEMPTIONS

       Students may be admitted to school or continue attendance without a certificate or proof
       of immunization if: A physician will testify or certify that administering a vaccine to a
       specific student will be detrimental to that students’ health (Public Health Law 2164(8));
       or (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 400, School Law § 20:15)

       In the case of varicella, either a health care provider documents the child has already had
       varicella, or there is serologic evidence the child has immunity to varicella (Public Health
       Law 2164(2-a); 10 NYCRR 66-1.3(a)(9)); or (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 400, School Law §
       20:15)

       The students’ parents claim an exemption based on genuine and sincerely held religious
       beliefs that are contrary to the practice of immunization (Public Health Law 2164(9)).
       (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 400, School Law § 20:15)

Federal Appellate Courts:
    “Nonetheless, a religiously based opposition to immunizations must be founded on
      sincerely held religious beliefs rather than medical or purely moral considerations,
      scientific and secular theories, or philosophical and personal beliefs” (NYSSBA, 2010,
      pp. 400-401, School Law § 20:15). “This includes personalized interpretations of
      concepts and practices found in various religions” (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 400-401, School
      Law § 20:15).
      - Mason v. General Brown CSD, 851 F.2d 47 (2d Cir. 1988)
      - Farina v. BOE of the City of N.Y., 116 F.Supp.2d 503 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)
      - Sherr v. Northport-East Northport UFSD, 672 F.Supp. 81 (E.D.N.Y 1987)
      - Matter of Christine M., 157 Misc.2d 4 (Fam. Ct. Kings Cnty. 1992)
      - Appeal of C.S., 49 Ed Dept Rep 106 (2009)
      - Appeal of S.B., 48 Ed Dept Rep 332 (2009)
      - Appeal of H.K. and T.K., 49 Ed Dept Rep 56 (2009)
      - Appeal of K.E., 48 Ed Dept Rep 54 (2008)
      - Appeal of L.P., 46 Ed Dept Rep 341 (2007)
    “Opposition to immunization may not be framed in terms of religious beliefs merely to
      gain the exemption” (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 400-401, School Law § 20:15).
      - Sherr v. Northport-East Northport UFSD, 672 F.Supp. 81 (E.D.N.Y 1987)
      - Matter of Christine M., 157 Misc.2d 4 (Fam. Ct. Kings Cnty. 1992)
Federal District Court (New York):
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    “Parents may claim a religious exemption even if they are not members of a recognized
     religious organization whose doctrines oppose vaccination” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 400,
     School Law § 20:15).
     - Farina v. BOE of the City of N.Y., 116 F.Supp.2d 503 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)
     - Lewis v. Sobol, 710 F.Supp. 506 (S.D.N.Y. 1989)
     - Sherr v. Northport-East Northport UFSD, 672 F.Supp. 81 (E.D.N.Y 1987)
     - Matter of Christine M., 157 Misc.2d 4 (Fam. Ct. Kings Cnty. 1992)
     - Appeal of C.S., 49 Ed Dept Rep 106 (2009)
     - Appeal of H.K. and T.K., 49 Ed Dept Rep 56 (2009)
     - Appeal of L.S., 48 Ed Dept Rep 227 (2008)
New York State Commissioner of Education Appeals:
   “A medical exemption certificate must indicate why immunization would be detrimental
     to the student seeking the exemption” (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 400-401, School Law §
     20:15). “A student may seek a medical exemption from any or all of the required
     vaccinations” (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 400-401, School Law § 20:15).
     - Appeal of M.E.F., 43 Ed Dept Rep 248 (2003)
     - Appeal of McGann, 32 Ed Dept Rep 187 (1992)

4. IMMUNIZATIONS: REQUESTS FOR RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION

New York State Commissioner of Education Appeals:
   “Parents seeking a religious exemption from immunizations must submit to their school
     district a written and signed statement declaring their objection to immunizations due to
     sincere and genuine religious beliefs that prohibit the immunization of their child (10
     NYCRR 66-1.3(d)” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 401, School Law § 20:16).
     - Appeal of C.S., 49 Ed Dept Rep 106 (2009)
     - Appeal of H.K. and T.K., 49 Ed Dept Rep 56 (2009)
     - Appeal of S.B., 48 Ed Dept Rep 332 (2009)
   “A school principal may request supporting documentation if, following review of the
     parental statement, questions remain about the existence of a sincerely held religious
     belief (10 NYCRR 66-1.3(d))” (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 400-401, School Law § 20:15).
     Therefore the “burden is on the parents to establish their right to the exemption”
     (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 400-401, School Law § 20:15).
     - Appeal of C.S., 49 Ed Dept Rep 106 (2009).
     - Appeal of H.K. and T.K., 49 Ed Dept Rep 56 (2009)
     - Appeal of S.B., 48 Ed Dept Rep 332 (2009)

5. IMMUNIZATIONS: DETERMINATIONS FOR RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION

Federal District Court (New York):
    “School officials must determine whether the purported beliefs that support the
      opposition to immunizations are religious in nature and, only if they are, whether they are
      genuine and sincerely held” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 401, School Law §20:17).
      - Farina v. BOE of the City of N.Y., 116 F.Supp.2d 503 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)
      - Sherr v. Northport-East Northport, 672 F.Supp. 81 (E.D.N.Y. 1987)
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    “A school district may be held financially liable if it denies a religious exemption in
     violation of a parent’s constitutional rights to the free exercise of religion under the First
     Amendment” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 401, School Law § 20:17).
     - Lewis v. Sobol, 710 F.Supp. 506 (S.D.N.Y. 1989)
New York State Commissioner of Education Appeals:
   “Whether a student is exempt from immunization because of religious reasons is
     determined, in the first instance, by school district officials” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 401,
     School Law § 20:17).
     - Appeal of C.S., 49 Ed Dept Rep 106 (2009)
     - Appeal of H.K. and T.K., 49 Ed Dept Rep 56 (2009)
     - Appeal of S.B., 48 Ed Dept Rep 332 (2009)
   “When determining whether a parent’s religious beliefs are genuine, school district
     officials do not have to simply accept a statement of religious belief without some
     examination” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 401, School Law § 20:17). “Similarly, they should not
     simply reject a statement either without further examination and the school district should
     evidence that the application was fully examined” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 401, School Law
     § 20:17).
     - Appeal of C.S., 49 Ed Dept Rep 106 (2009)
     - Appeal of H.K. and T.K., 49 Ed Dept Rep 56 (2009)
     - Appeal of S.B., 48 Ed Dept Rep 332 (2009)
     - Appeal of L.S., 48 Ed Dept Rep 227 (2008)
   Petitioners claimed their daughter to be exempt from immunizations for "genuine and
     sincere religious" beliefs (New York State Education Department [NYSED], 2011,
     Decisions No. 14,724). “They also claimed that the denial was based on an
     unconstitutional board policy and violates their constitutional right to the free exercise of
     religion” (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 14,724). Appeal was dismissed, however, it was
     “ordered that the school district immediately amend its immunization policy in
     accordance with Public Health Law §2164(9)” (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 14,724).
     - Appeal of E.Q. and B.Q., Decision No. 14,724, 41 Ed Dept Rep 399 (2002)

6. IMMUNIZATIONS: PREVIOUS GRANTS OF RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION

New York State Commissioner of Education Appeals
   “A middle school principal, for example, can deny a religious exemption from
     immunization to a student previously granted such an exemption by the elementary
     school principal in the same school district (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 401, School Law §
     20:18). The middle school principal “may conduct a separate inquiry to ensure
     compliance with statutory immunization requirements” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 401, School
     Law § 20:18).
     - Appeal of K.E., 48 Ed Dept Rep 54 (2008)
   “A religious exemption granted by school officials in another school district previously
     attended by a student is not binding on school officials of the district of current
     attendance” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 402, School Law § 20:18). “Actually, district officials
     of the new district are obligated to make their own determination whether any one of
     their students qualifies for a religious exemption” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 402, School Law §
     20:18).
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       - Appeal of S.B., 48 Ed Dept Rep 332 (2009)
      “Petitioner stated that her religious beliefs “precluded” her from having her children
       “injected with small amounts of various diseases” and that the school district previously
       granted a religious exemption from immunization to student’s older brother, who
       graduated from school district’s high school” (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 16,175).
       Appeal was dismissed (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 16,175)
       - Appeal of A.C., Decision No. 16,175

7. IMMUNIZATIONS: GENUINE RELIGIOUS BELIEF

Federal District Court (New York):
    “School district officials do not have to accept a parent’s mere statement that they have a
      sincere and genuine belief contrary to the practice of immunization, or that God provides
      an immune system as proof that a student’s parents hold such beliefs” (NYSSBA, 2010,
      p. 402, School Law § 20:19). “Instead, parents must articulate the religious basis or
      origin of their beliefs” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 402, School Law § 20:19).
      - Farina v. BOE of the City of N.Y., 116 F.Supp.2d 503 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)
      - Appeal of R.P., 47 Ed Dept Rep 124 (2007)
      - Appeal of J.F., 45 Ed Dept Rep 241 (2005)
      - Appeal of Quigley, 41 Ed Dept Rep 399 (2002)
    “A parent’s religious beliefs can be personal therefore they do not have to be consistent
      with the dogma of any organized religion, or founded upon a belief in the fundamental
      premise of a God as commonly understood in western philosophy” (NYSSBA, 2010, p.
      402, School Law § 20:19). In addition, “parents may not be asked about their religious
      affiliation, or that they provide a letter from their church regarding their religious beliefs,
      just the nature of their beliefs” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 402, School Law § 20:19).
      - Farina v. BOE of the City of N.Y., 116 F.Supp.2d 503 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)
      - Appeal of L.P., 46 Ed Dept Rep 341 (2007)
      - U.S. v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163 (1965)
      - Intl Socy for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Barker, 650 F.2d 430 (2d Cir. 1981)
      - Mason v. General Brown CSD, 851 F.2d 47 (2d Cir. 1988)
      - Sherr v. Northport-East Northport, 672 F.Supp.2d 81 (E.D.N.Y. 1989)
      - Matter of Christine M., 157 Misc.2d 4 (Fam. Ct. Kings Cnty. 1992)
    “What is required is that a parents’ personal religious belief occupies a place in the
      parents’ life that is parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God and that the parent
      will categorically disregard elementary self-interest rather than transgressing religious
      tenets” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 402, School Law § 20:19).
      - U.S. v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163 (1965)
      - Intl Socy for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Barker, 650 F.2d 430 (2d Cir. 1981)
      - Mason v. General Brown CSD, 851 F.2d 47 (2d Cir. 1988)
      - Sherr v. Northport-East Northport, 672 F.Supp.2d 81 (E.D.N.Y. 1989)
      - Matter of Christine M., 157 Misc.2d 4 (Fam. Ct. Kings Cnty. 1992)
      - U.S. v. Allen, 760 F.2d 447 (2d Cir. 1985)
      - Lewis v. Sobol, 710 F.Supp. 506 (S.D.N.Y. 1989)
New York State Commissioner of Education Appeals:
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      “Parents must articulate a description of their religious beliefs therefore reliance on Bible
       passages, while at the same time being a member of a church that leaves decisions on the
       use of immunizations to the individual, is insufficient to establish a sincerely held
       religious belief” (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 15,792).
       - Appeal of K.E., Decision No. 15,792
      “Petitioners had a letter that they submitted to a previous school stating they had "sincere
       and genuine belief contrary to the practice of immunization" however, nothing in that
       letter expressed their religious beliefs” (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 15,310). “In
       meeting with the school district stated in another letter “because we hold genuine and
       sincere religious beliefs which are inconsistent with these medical procedures" however
       the letter did not describe their beliefs” (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 15,310).
       Therefore the appeal was dismissed (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 15,310).
       - Appeal of J.F. and D.F., Decision No. 15,310
      “Petitioner requested religious exemption on the grounds that to vaccinate her son with
       certain vaccines that contained aborted fetal tissue” (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No.
       16,294). The parents “submitted a letter where they stated “It is my sincere religious
       belief that Gods [sic] commandment “Thou shalt not kill” includes the aborting of human
       fetuses” (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 16,294). “Appeal was sustained and the school
       district must grant petitioner’s son religious exemptions from the immunization
       requirements specified in this decision pursuant to Public Health Law § 2164” (NYSED,
       2011, Decisions No. 16,294).
       - Appeal of B.O-G., Decision No. 16,294
      “Petitioner requested religious exemption from immunization for their children due to
       held religious beliefs of Orthodox Judaism claiming that respondent improperly rejected
       their request for an exemption” (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 16,144). Appeal was
       sustained and the “school district must grant petitioners’ children religious exemptions
       from the immunization requirements pursuant to Public Health Law §2164(9)” (NYSED,
       2011, Decisions No. 16,144).
       - Appeal of D.W. and N.W., Decision No. 16,144
      “Petitioner requested an immunization exemption for student based on “sincere religious
       principles and beliefs” based on Public Health Law §2164(9)” NYSED, 2011, Decisions
       No. 15,520). Appeal was sustained and “the school district must grant student a religious
       exemption from the immunization requirements pursuant to Public Health Law §2164(9)”
       (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 15,520).
       - Appeal of C.D. and E.D., Decision No. 15,520

8. IMMUNIZATIONS: PROHIBITING IMMUNIZATIONS SINCERELY HELD

United States Supreme Court:
    Religious exemption was disallowed when “the court in this case held that an exemption
      based on religious grounds would discriminate against the vast majority of children
      whose parents did not subscribe to a religious conviction” (Essex, 2012, p. 286).
      - Brown v. Stone, 378 So. 2d 218 (Miss. 1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 887 (1980)
Federal Appellate Courts:
    Couple argued that their “beliefs of the Universal Life Church were sincere and that the
      term religious expanded beyond belief in a deity” however the court ruled that that was
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                            54


      “not a bona fide religious organization and since no violation of the First Amendment
      rights, there was no basis for any damage claim” (Essex, 2012, p. 286).
      - Mason v. General Brown Cent. School District, 851 F. 2d 47 (2d Cir. 1988)
Federal District Court (New York):
    “Court provided an exemption to student whose parents were not members of an
      organized church when they found that “the parent’s beliefs were sincere in that these
      beliefs permeated every facet of their lives” even though they had on one occasion
      relinquished their opposition to immunization (Essex, 2012, pp. 286-287). In addition the
      court also “awarded monetary damages to the family for monetary distress” (Essex, 2012,
      pp. 286-287).
      - Lewis v. Sobel, 710 F. Supp. 506 (S.D.N.Y. 1989)
    “When determining whether a parent’s religious beliefs are sincerely held, school district
      officials must make a good faith effort to assess the credibility of the parent’s sentiments
      and sincerity” and “they may draw inferences from the parent’s words and actions”
      (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 402, School Law § 20:20). This included “a parent’s attitude toward
      sickness and health, and whether the parent joined a particular organized group in order
      to gain an exemption from immunization” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 402, School Law §
      20:20). “School district officials can also rely on their observation of the parent’s
      demeanor and forthrightness” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 402, School Law § 20:20).
      - Matter of Christine M., 157 Misc.2d 4 (Fam. Ct. Kings Cnty. 1992)
      - Appeal of C.S., 49 Ed Dept Rep 106 (2009)
      - Appeal of J.F., 45 Ed Dept Rep 241 (2005)
      - Farina v. BOE of the City of N.Y., 116 F.Supp.2d 503 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)
      - Mason v. General Brown CSD, 851 F.2d 47 (2d Cir. 1988)
      - Sherr v. Northport-East Northport, 672 F.Supp.2d 81 (E.D.N.Y. 1989)
      - Appeal of H.K. and T.K., 49 Ed Dept Rep 56 (2009)
    “A religious belief would not be sincerely held if, for instance, the person adhering to the
      belief acts in a manner inconsistent with that belief, or gains by fraudulently hiding
      secular interests behind religious doctrine” (NYSSBA, 2010, p. 402, School Law §
      20:20).
      - Intl Socy for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Barker, 650 F.2d 430 (2d Cir. 1981)
      - Lewis v. Sobol, 710 F.Supp. 506 (S.D.N.Y. 1989)
      - Sherr v. Northport-East Northport, 672 F.Supp.2d 81 (E.D.N.Y. 1989)
      - Matter of Christine M., 157 Misc.2d 4 (Fam. Ct. Kings Cnty. 1992)
    “An occasional or past departure from ones religious practices does not necessarily
      negate the sincerity of religious beliefs” (NYSSBA, 2010, pp. 402-403, School Law §
      20:20).
      - Lewis v. Sobol, 710 F.Supp. 506 (S.D.N.Y. 1989)
      - Appeal of C.D., 46 Ed Dept Rep 317 (2007)
New York State Commissioner of Education Appeals:
    Dismissed the appeal of a petitioner who requested an exemption from the Hepatitis B
      vaccination based on “religion and beliefs that nothing be placed into our body that
      doesn’t belong there” however the student had all other required immunizations
      (NYSED, 2011, Decisions No. 15,111)
      - Appeal of D.L., Decision No. 15,111
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     The “fact that a child has been previously immunized is not dispositive in determining the
      parents’ genuine and sincere religious beliefs against immunization” (NYSSBA, 2010,
      pp. 402-403, School Law § 20:20).
      - Appeal of C.S., 49 Ed Dept Rep 106 (2009)
      - Appeal of C.D., 46 Ed Dept Rep 317 (2007)

9. IMMUNIZATIONS: BOARD POLICY

Board Policy 7511: IMMUNIZATION OF STUDENTS - STUDENT WELFARE

      The Board of Education recognizes its responsibility under the Public Health Law to
      insure that the children under its charge are immunized against measles, polio, diphtheria,
      mumps, rubella, *Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and **hepatitis B. Additionally,
      the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine shall be required for all children born on or after
      January 1, 1998 who will enter grades kindergarten and above in September 2003; and
      for all children born on or after January 1, 2000 and enrolled in any school as defined in
      Public Health Law Section 2164(1). The Board, therefore, requires that a physician's
      certificate or some other acceptable evidence of immunization be submitted for all
      children entering and presently attending school. (Randolph Central School District,
      2011, Board Policy 7511)

      The Board directs the administration not to permit any child lacking evidence of
      immunization to remain in school for more than fourteen (14) days, or thirty (30) days for
      an out-of-state transferee who can show an effort to obtain the necessary evidence or
      certification. The administration should notify the local health authority of the name and
      address of the child, as well as to provide the person in parental relation to the child who
      has been denied admission or attendance a statement of his/her duty regarding
      immunization and a consent form prescribed by the Commissioner of Health. The school
      shall cooperate with the local health authorities to provide a time and place for the
      immunization of children lacking same. (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board
      Policy 7511)

      The only exceptions to this policy are as follows:

      a) If a child whose parent, parents, or guardian hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs
      which are contrary to the practices required, no certificate shall be required as a
      prerequisite to such child being admitted or received into school or attending school;
      b) If a physician will certify that administering a vaccine to a particular child is
      detrimental to the child's health, the requirement may be waived by the Board.
      A student denied entrance or attendance due to failure of meeting health immunization
      standards may appeal to the Commissioner of Education. (Randolph Central School
      District, 2011, Board Policy 7511)

      * Applicable only to Pre-K, Nursery and Day Care.
      ** Shall apply to children born on or after January 1, 1993, beginning with their
      enrollment in any public, private or parochial kindergarten, elementary, intermediate or
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                          56


     secondary school, and to children born on or after January 1, 1995, beginning with their
     enrollment in any school, as defined in Public Health Law Section 2164(1)(a). Also, on
     or after September 1, 2000, all children are to be immunized against hepatitis B prior to
     enrollment in the seventh grade in any public, private or parochial intermediate or middle
     school. (Randolph Central School District, 2011, Board Policy 7511)

     Public Health Law Section 2164
     Education Law Section 914
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                           SECTION XIV: BOARD POLICY

1. Board Policy 3280: PARTICIPATION BY THE PUBLIC - COMMUNITY USE OF
                      SCHOOL FACILITIES

     It shall be the policy of the Board to encourage the greatest possible use of school
     buildings for community-wide activities. This is meant to include use by recognized
     civic, social and fraternal and religious organizations in accordance with law. Groups
     wishing to use the school facilities must secure written permission from the
     Superintendent and abide by the rules and regulations established for such use including
     restrictions on alcohol, tobacco and drug use. The Superintendent, at his/her discretion,
     may consult with the Board of Education. Monthly reports may be made to the Board
     regarding community use of the school facilities.

     Education Law Section 414

2. Board Policy 7110: ATTENDANCE - COMPREHENSIVE STUDENT
                      ATTENDANCE POLICY

     Overall Goal Statement: School attendance is both a right and a responsibility. The
     School District is an active partner with students and parents in the task of ensuring that
     all students meet or exceed the New York State Learning Standards. Because the School
     District recognizes that consistent school attendance, academic success and school
     completion have a positive correlation, the School District has developed, a
     Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy.

     Based upon our District's education and community needs, values and priorities, the
     School District has determined that absences, tardiness and early departures will be
     considered excused or unexcused according to the following standards.
     a) Excused: An absence, tardiness or early departure may be excused if due to personal
     illness, illness or death in the family, impassable roads due to inclement weather,
     religious observance, quarantine, required court appearances, road test, attendance at
     health clinics, approved college visits, approved cooperative work programs, take your
     child to work day, approved school related activities, military obligations or other such
     reasons as may be approved by the Board of Education. Any suspension from school will
     not constitute an absence from class. Suspended students will be offered alternative
     instruction. If the alternative instruction is refused, the suspension will then count as an
     absence from class.
     b) Unexcused: An absence, tardiness or early departure is considered unexcused if the
     reason for the lack of attendance does not fall into the above categories (e.g., family
     vacation, hunting, babysitting, hair cut, obtaining learner's permit, oversleeping).

     Education Law Sections 3024, 3025, 3202, 3205, 3206,
     3210, 3211, and 3213
     8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations
     (NYCRR) Sections 104.1, 109.2 and 175.6
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3. Board Policy 7121: ATTENDANCE - DIAGNOSTIC SCREENING OF STUDENTS

     The School District has developed a plan for the diagnostic screening of all new entrants
     and students with low test scores. A new entrant means a student entering the New York
     State public school system, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, for the first time, or re-
     entering a New York State public school with no available record of a prior screening.
     Students with low test scores are students who score below level two on either the third
     grade English language arts or mathematics assessment for New York State elementary
     schools.

     Such diagnostic screening will be utilized to determine which students:
      a) Have or are suspected of having a disability;
      b) Are possibly gifted; or
      c) Are possibly limited English proficient.
     Such diagnostic screening shall be conducted:
      a) By persons appropriately trained or qualified;
      b) By persons appropriately trained or qualified in the student's native language if the
     language of the home is other than English;
      c) In the case of new entrants, prior to the school year, if possible, but no later than
     December 1 of the school year of entry or within fifteen (15) days of transfer of a student
     into a New York State public school should the entry take place after December 1 of the
     school year;
      d) In the case of students with low test scores, within thirty (30) days of the availability
     of the test scores.

     No screening examination for vision, hearing or scoliosis condition is required where
     a student, parent, or person in parental relation objects on the grounds that such
     examination conflicts with their genuine and sincere religious beliefs.

     Results and Reports: The results of the diagnostic screening shall be reviewed and a
     written report of each student screened shall be prepared by appropriately qualified
     School District staff. The report shall include a description of diagnostic screening
     devices used, the student's performance on those devices and, if required, the appropriate
     referral. If such screening indicates a possible disability, a referral, with a report of the
     screening, shall be made to the Committee on Special Education (CSE) or the Committee
     on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) no later than fifteen (15) calendar days after
     completion of such diagnostic screening.

     Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 United States Code (USC)
     Section 1232(g)
     Education Law Sections 901, 903, 904, 905, 914 and 3208(5)
     Public Health Law Section 2164
     8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Parts 117, 136, 142.2 and 154

4. Board Policy 7250: STUDENT PROGRESS - STUDENT PRIVACY, PARENTAL
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                      ACCESS TO INFORMATION, AND ADMINISTRATION OF
                      CERTAIN PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS TO MINORS

     U.S. Department of Education-Funded Surveys

     In compliance with the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), the School
     District is committed to protecting the rights and privacy interests of parents/guardians
     and students with regard to surveys funded in whole or part by any program administered
     by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).

     The District shall make instructional materials available for inspection by
     parents/guardians if those materials will be used in connection with a DOE-funded
     survey, analysis, or evaluation in which their children participate. In addition, the School
     District shall obtain prior written parental/guardian consent before minor students are
     required to participate in any DOE-funded survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals
     information concerning:
      a) Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student's parent/guardian;
      b) Mental or psychological problems of the student or the student's family;
      c) Sex behavior or attitudes;
      d) Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
      e) Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family
     relationships;
      f) Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers,
     physicians, and ministers;
      g) Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student's
     parent/guardian; or
      h) Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a
     program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).
     Surveys Funded by Sources Other than U.S. Department of Education

     The School District has developed and adopted this Board policy, in consultation with
     parents/guardians, regarding the following:
      a) The right of the parent/guardian to inspect, upon request, a survey created by a third
     party (i.e., by a party other than the DOE) before the survey is administered or distributed
     by the school to a student. Requests by parents/guardians to inspect such surveys are to
     be submitted to, in writing, to the building principal at least 10 days prior to the
     administration or distribution of any survey. Further, the District shall grant a request by
     the parent/guardian for reasonable access to such survey within a reasonable period of
     time after the request is received by the District.
      b) Arrangements shall be provided by the District to protect student privacy in the event
     of the administration or distribution of a survey to a student containing one or more of the
     following items (including the right of the parent/guardian of the student to inspect, upon
     request, any survey containing one or more of such items):
       1. Political affiliations or beliefs of student toward the student's parent/guardian;
       2. Mental or psychological problems of the student or the student's family;
       3. Sex behavior or attitudes;
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       4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating or demeaning behavior;
      5. Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family
     relationships;
       6. Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers,
     physicians, and ministers;
      7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student's
     parent/guardian;
       8. Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a
     program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).
     Parents/guardians have the right to inspect, upon request, any survey containing one or
     more of such items. Such requests must be submitted by the parent/guardian, in writing,
     to the building principal at least 10 days prior to the administration or distribution of any
     survey.
      c) Parents/guardians shall be granted, upon request, reasonable access and the right to
     inspect instructional materials used as part of the educational curriculum for the student
     within a reasonable period of time (defined by the School District, for the purposes of this
     policy, as 30 days) after such request is received by the
     District. Requests shall be submitted by parents/guardians, in writing, to the building
     principal. The term "instructional material" means instructional content that is provided
     to a student, regardless of its format, including printed or representational materials,
     audiovisual materials, and materials in electronic or digital formats (such as materials
     accessible through the Internet). The term does not include academic tests or academic
     assessments.
      d) The administration of physical examinations or screenings that the School District
     may administer to a student.
     Further, this law does not apply to any physical examination or screening that is
     permitted or required by State law, including physical examinations or screenings that are
     permitted without parental notification.
      In the implementation of this provision regarding the administration of physical
     examinations or screenings that the school may administer to the student, the School
     District incorporates by reference Board policies that address student health services, as
     applicable, including but not limited to policies regarding the administration of
     medication, immunization of students, and student physicals.
      e) Unless mandated/authorized in accordance with Federal or State law and/or
     regulation, it is policy of the Board of Education, to not permit the collection, disclosure,
     or use of personal information (the term “personal information” is defined as individually
     identifiable information including a student’s or parent/guardian’s first and last name;
     home address; telephone number; or Social Security number) collected from students for
     the purpose of marketing or for selling that information (or otherwise providing that
     information to others for that purpose), unless otherwise exempted pursuant to law as
     noted below. Questions regarding the collection, disclosure, or use of personal
     information collected from students for such marketing purposes may be referred to the
     school attorney as deemed necessary by the Superintendent/designee.
     These requirements do not apply to the collection, disclosure, or use of personal
     information collected from students for the exclusive purpose of developing, evaluating,
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                              61


     or providing educational products or services for, or to, students or educational
     institutions, such as the following:
      a) College or other postsecondary education recruitment, or *military recruitment;
      b) Book clubs, magazines, and programs providing access to low-cost literary products;
      c) Curriculum and instructional materials used by elementary schools and secondary
     schools;
      d) Tests and assessments used by elementary schools and secondary schools to provide
     cognitive, evaluative, diagnostic, clinical, aptitude, or achievement information about
     students (or to generate others statistically useful data for the purpose of securing such
     tests and assessments) and the subsequent analysis and public release of the aggregate
     data from such tests and assessments;
      e) The sale by students of products or services to raise funds for school-related or
     education-related activities;
      f) Student recognition programs.
      *Military recruiter access to student information is governed by the Family Educational
     Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and the National Defense Authorization Act for
     Fiscal Year 2002.
      [Please note that our sample policy prohibits such collection, disclosure or use except to
     the extent permitted by law; however, Boards of Education should consult with their
     school attorneys to reflect District practice. Further, if the School District does permit
     such collection, disclosure or use of personal information collected from students for the
     purpose of marketing or for selling that information or otherwise providing that
     information to others for that purpose, a subsection “f” should be included indicating that
     parents/guardians have the right to inspect, upon request, any instrument used in the
     collection of personal information before the instrument is administered or distributed to
     student. Applicable procedures must be established for granting a request by a
     parent/guardian for reasonable access to such instrument within a reasonable period of
     time after the request is received. In the event of such collection, disclosure or use of
     personal information gathered from students, arrangements shall be made by the District
     to protect student privacy in accordance with the requirements of the Family and
     Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA).]
      This law is not intended to preempt applicable provisions of State law that require
     parental/guardian notification.
     Notification of Policies/"Opt Out" Provisions
      The School District shall provide for reasonable notice of the adoption or continued use
     of this policy directly to the parents/guardians of students enrolled in the District. At a
     minimum, the District shall provide such notice at least annually, at the beginning of the
     school year, and within a reasonable period of time after any substantive change in this
     policy.
      Further, in the notification, the District shall offer an opportunity for parents/guardians to
     opt their child out of participation in the following activities:
      a) Activities involving the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected
     from students for the purpose of marketing or for selling that information (or otherwise
     providing that information to others for that purpose).
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      b) The administration of any survey containing one or more of the eight items of
     information listed above in the subheadings referencing DOE-funded surveys as well as
     non-DOE-funded surveys.
      c) Any non-emergency, invasive physical examination or screening that is required as a
     condition of attendance; administered by the school and scheduled by the school in
     advance; and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of the student, or
     of other students. The term “invasive physical examination” means any medical
     examination that involves the exposure of private body parts, or any act during such
     examination that includes incision, insertion, or injection into the body, but does not
     include a hearing, vision or scoliosis screening.
     Notification of Specific Events
      In the notification, the School District shall directly notify parents/guardians, at least
     annually at the beginning of the school year, of the specific or approximate dates during
     the school year when the above activities are scheduled or expected to be scheduled.

     General Provisions
     The requirements of PPPRA do not apply to a survey administered to a student in
     accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Further, PPRA
     does not supersede any of the requirements of FERPA.
     The rights provided to parents/guardians under PPRA transfer from the parent/guardian
     to the student when the student turns 18 years old or is an emancipated minor under
     applicable State law.
     The School District may use funds provided under Part A of Title V of the Elementary
     and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to enhance parental/guardian involvement in areas
     affecting the in-school privacy of students.

     20 United States Code (U.S.C.)
     Section 1232h(b) and (c),
     as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
     34 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Part 98

5. Board Policy 7410: STUDENT ACTIVITIES - EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

     The Board of Education considers extracurricular activities to be a valuable part of the
     program of the school and shall support these activities within the financial means of the
     District.

     Limited Open Forum: The Board of Education maintains a limited open forum where
     secondary students may meet for voluntary student-initiated activities unrelated directly
     to the instructional program, regardless of religious, political or philosophical content.

     To provide "a fair opportunity" to students who wish to conduct a meeting, the Board of
     Education, in accordance with the provisions of the Equal Access Act, shall ensure that:
     a) The meeting is voluntary and student-initiated;
     b) There is no sponsorship of the meeting by the school, the government, or its agents or
     employees;
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     c) Employees or agents of the school or government are present at religious
     meetings only in a non-participatory capacity;
     d) The meeting does not materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of
     educational activities within the school; and
     e) Nonschool persons may not direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend activities of
     student groups (20 U.S.C. Section 4071[c]).

     The Board prohibits student organizations whose activities may be unlawful or may cause
     disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of the educational process.
     Administration is responsible for establishing regulations governing the use of school
     facilities by student organizations.

     Eligibility for Attendance
     a) Students who are suspended from school on a day of an athletic game or
     practice session, party, school dance, or other school affair scheduled after regular
     school hours are not eligible for participation or attendance at such events.
     b) In order for students to attend a school-sponsored function, it is necessary that students
     attend classes for at least half of the school day on the day of the activity. One-half of the
     school day is defined as follows: from 8:30 a.m. until noon or from noon until the end of
     the school day.

     8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations
     (NYCRR) Sections 172.1 and 172.2
     Education Law Sections 1709, 1709-a,
     2503-a, and 2554-a
     Equal Access Act, 20 United States Code (U.S.C.)
     Sections 4071-4074

6. Board Policy 7511: STUDENT WELFARE - IMMUNIZATION OF STUDENTS

     The Board of Education recognizes its responsibility under the Public Health Law to
     insure that the children under its charge are immunized against measles, polio, diphtheria,
     mumps, rubella, *Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and **hepatitis B. Additionally,
     the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine shall be required for all children born on or after
     January 1, 1998 who will enter grades kindergarten and above in September 2003; and
     for all children born on or after January 1, 2000 and enrolled in any school as defined in
     Public Health Law Section 2164(1). The Board, therefore, requires that a physician's
     certificate or some other acceptable evidence of immunization be submitted for all
     children entering and presently attending school.

     The Board directs the administration not to permit any child lacking evidence of
     immunization to remain in school for more than fourteen (14) days, or thirty (30) days for
     an out-of-state transferee who can show an effort to obtain the necessary evidence or
     certification. The administration should notify the local health authority of the name and
     address of the child, as well as to provide the person in parental relation to the child who
     has been denied admission or attendance a statement of his/her duty regarding
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     immunization and a consent form prescribed by the Commissioner of Health. The school
     shall cooperate with the local health authorities to provide a time and place for the
     immunization of children lacking same.

     The only exceptions to this policy are as follows:
     a) If a child whose parent, parents, or guardian hold genuine and sincere religious
     beliefs which are contrary to the practices required, no certificate shall be required
     as a prerequisite to such child being admitted or received into school or attending
     school;
     b) If a physician will certify that administering a vaccine to a particular child is
     detrimental to the child's health, the requirement may be waived by the Board.
     A student denied entrance or attendance due to failure of meeting health immunization
     standards may appeal to the Commissioner of Education.
     * Applicable only to Pre-K, Nursery and Day Care.
     ** Shall apply to children born on or after January 1, 1993, beginning with their
     enrollment in any public, private or parochial kindergarten, elementary, intermediate or
     secondary school, and to children born on or after January 1, 1995, beginning with their
     enrollment in any school, as defined in Public Health Law Section 2164(1)(a). Also, on
     or after September 1, 2000, all children are to be immunized against hepatitis B prior to
     enrollment in the seventh grade in any public, private or parochial intermediate or middle
     school.

     Public Health Law Section 2164
     Education Law Section 914

7. Board Policy 7512: STUDENT WELFARE - STUDENT PHYSICALS

     Health Examination:
     Each student enrolled in District schools must have a satisfactory health examination
     conducted by the student's physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner within
     twelve (12) months prior to the commencement of the school year of:
      a) The student's entrance in a District school at any grade level;
      b) Entrance to pre-kindergarten or kindergarten;
      c) Entry into the 2nd, 4th, 7th and 10th grades.

     The District may also require an examination and health history of a student when it is
     determined by the District that it would promote the educational interests of the student.

     In addition, the District requires a certificate of physical fitness for:
      a) All athletes prior to their first sport of the school year, then only those who were
     injured or ill during their first sport before participating in a second sport during the
     school year; and
      b) All students who need work permits.

     Health Certificate
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     Each student must submit a health certificate attesting to the health examination within
     thirty (30) days after his or her entrance into school and within thirty (30) days after his
     or her entry into the 2nd, 4th, 7th and 10th grades. The health certificate shall be filed in
     the student's cumulative record. The health certificate must:
      a) Describe the condition of the student when the examination was given;
      b) State the results of any test conducted on the student for sickle cell anemia;
      c) State whether the student is in a fit condition of health to permit his/her attendance at
     public school and, where applicable, whether the student has defective sight or hearing,
     or any other physical disability which may tend to prevent the student from receiving the
     full benefit of school work or from receiving the best educational results, or which may
     require a modification of such work to prevent injury to the student;
      d) Include a calculation of the student's body mass index (BMI) and weight status
     category. Weight status categories for children and adolescents shall be defined by the
     Commissioner of Health;
      e) Be signed by a duly licensed physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner, who
     is authorized by law to practice in New York State consistent with any applicable written
     practice agreement; or authorized to practice in the jurisdiction in which the examination
     was given, provided that the Commissioner of Health has determined that such
     jurisdiction has standards of licensure and practice comparable to those of New York. A
     certificate signed by a chiropractor is not acceptable except for a scoliosis evaluation.

     Examination by Health Appraisal
     The Principal or the Principal's designee will send a notice to the parents of, or person in
     parental relationship to, any student who does not present a health certificate, that if the
     required health certificate is not furnished within thirty (30) days from the date of such
     notice, an examination by health appraisal will be made of such student by the School
     Physician.

     The School Physician shall cause such students to be separately and carefully examined
     and tested to ascertain whether any such student has defective sight or hearing, or any
     other physical disability which may tend to prevent the student from receiving the full
     benefit of school work or from receiving the best educational results, or which may
     require a modification of such work to prevent injury to the student.

     The physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner administering such examination
     shall determine whether a one-time test for sickle cell anemia is necessary or desirable
     and, if so determined, shall conduct such test and include the results in the health
     certificate.

     Unless otherwise prohibited by law, if it is ascertained that any students have defective
     sight or hearing, or a physical disability or other condition, including sickle cell anemia
     which may require professional attention with regard to health, the Principal or
     Principal's designee shall notify, in writing, the student's parents or persons in parental
     relation as to the existence of such disability. If the parents or persons in parental relation
     are unable or unwilling to provide the necessary relief and treatment for such students,
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     such fact shall be reported by the Principal or Principal's designee to the School
     Physician, who then has the duty to provide relief for such students.

     Health Screenings
     The District will provide:
     a) Scoliosis screening at least once each school year for all students in grades 5 through
     9. The positive results of any such screening examinations for the presence of scoliosis
     shall be provided in writing to the student's parent or person in parental relation within
     ninety (90) days after such finding;
     b) Vision screening to all students who enroll in school including at a minimum color
     perception, distance acuity, near vision and hyperopia within six (6) months of admission
     to the school. In addition, all students shall be screened for distance acuity in grades
     Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 10 and at any other time deemed necessary. The results of
     all such vision screening examinations shall be in provided in writing to the student's
     parent or person in parental relation and to any teacher of the student. The vision report
     will be kept in a permanent file of the school for at least as long as the minimum retention
     period for such records;
      c) Hearing screening to all students within six months of admission to the school and in
     grades Kindergarten, 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10, as well as at any other time deemed necessary.
     Screening shall include, but not be limited to, pure tone and threshold air conduction
     screening. The results of any such hearing tests shall be provided in writing to the
     student's parent or person in parental relation and to any teacher of the student.
      The results of all health screenings (dental, hearing, vision and scoliosis) shall be
     recorded on appropriate forms signed by the health professional making the examination,
     include appropriate recommendations, and be kept on file in the school. The health
     records of individual students will be kept confidential in accordance with the federal
     Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and any other applicable federal
     and State laws.

     Accommodation for Religious Beliefs

     No health examinations, health history, examinations for health appraisal, screening
     examinations for sickle cell anemia and/or other health screenings shall be required
     where a student or the parent or person in parental relation to such student objects thereto
     on the grounds that such examinations, health history and/or screenings conflict with
     their genuine and sincere religious beliefs. A written and signed statement from the
     student or the student's parent or person in parental relation that such person holds such
     beliefs shall be submitted to the Principal or Principal's designee, in which case the
     Principal or Principal's designee may require supporting documents.

     Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
     20 United States Code (USC) Section 1232(g)
     Education Law Sections 901-905, 912 and 3217
     8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 136

8. Board Policy 8211: ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY INSTRUCTION -
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                      PREVENTION INSTRUCTION

     HIV Instruction in Health Education

     The Board of Education shall provide a health education program that will include
     appropriate instruction for all students concerning the human immunodeficiency virus
     (HIV). Accurate information concerning the nature of the disease, methods of
     transmission, and means of prevention shall be provided in an age-appropriate manner
     and shall be consistent with community values and will stress that abstinence is the most
     appropriate and effective premarital protection against HIV.

     A representative community advisory group consisting of appropriate school personnel,
     School Board members, parents, religious representatives, and other community
     members shall be established in order to make recommendations for curriculum content,
     implementation, and evaluation of an HIV instructional program. Appropriate training
     will be provided for instructional staff.

     Parents/guardians shall have the right to exclude their children from those portions of a
     school's health education program that address HIV prevention instruction. A statement
     must be completed and filed with the District declaring that the parent/guardian will be
     responsible for seeing that the student receives prevention instruction outside of the
     classroom.

     Substance Abuse-Prevention Instruction
     The Board of Education recognizes the need to educate students on the hazards of
     alcohol, tobacco and/or drug abuse. A prevention program will be developed to inform
     students of:
     a) Causes for substance abuse;
     b) Physical and psychological damage associated with substance abuse;
     c) Avoidance of alcohol, tobacco and drugs;
     d) Dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

     Environmental Conservation Instruction
     The Board of Education supports and encourages the development of a district-wide,
     articulated curriculum of environmental conservation integrated into other program
     disciplines.

     Fire and Arson Prevention Instruction
     The Board of Education directs the administration to provide instruction in fire and arson
     prevention for all students in each school for a period of not less than forty-five (45)
     minutes each month that school is in session.

     Student Safety
     Instruction in courses in technology education, science, home and career skills, art and
     physical education, health, and safety shall include and emphasize safety and accident
     prevention. Safety instruction shall precede the use of materials and equipment by
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     students in applicable units of work in the courses listed above, and instructors shall teach
     and enforce all safety procedures relating to the particular courses. These shall include
     the wearing of protective eye devices in appropriate activities.

     Emergency Planning
     The School District shall maintain updated plans and operating procedures to be followed
     in the event of natural or manmade disasters or enemy attack. Students shall be provided
     instruction to respond effectively in emergency situations.

     Instruction on Prevention of Child Abduction
     All students in grades K through 8 in District schools shall receive instruction designed to
     prevent the abduction of children. Such instruction shall be provided by or under the
     direct supervision of regular classroom teachers and the Board of Education shall provide
     appropriate training and curriculum materials for the regular classroom teachers who
     provide such instruction. However, at the Board's discretion, such instruction may be
     provided by any other public or private agency.

     The Commissioner of Education will provide technical assistance to assist in the
     development of curricula for such courses of study which must be age appropriate and
     developed according to the needs and abilities of students at successive grade levels in
     order to provide awareness skills, information, self-confidence, and support to aid in the
     prevention of child abduction.

     For purposes of developing such courses of study, the Board of Education may establish
     local advisory councils or utilize the school-based shared decision making and planning
     committee established pursuant to the Regulations of the Commissioner to make
     recommendations concerning the content and implementation of such courses.
     Alternatively, the District may utilize courses of instruction developed by consortia of
     school districts, boards of cooperative educational services, other school districts, or any
     other public or private agency. Such advisory council shall consist of, but not be limited
     to, parents, school trustees and Board members, appropriate school personnel, business
     and community representatives, and law enforcement personnel having experience in the
     prevention of child abduction.

     AIDS Instruction: 8 New York Code of Rules and
     Regulations (NYCRR) Section 135.3(b) and (c)

     Substance Abuse: Education Law Section 804
     8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations
     (NYCRR) Section 135.3(a)

     Student Safety: Education Law Section 808
     8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations
     (NYCRR) Sections 107 and 155
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     Fire and Arson: Education Law Section 808

     Civil Preparedness: New York State
     Office of Disaster Preparedness
     Prevention of Child Abduction:
     Education Law Section 803-a

9. Board Policy 8214: ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY INSTRUCTION - ANIMALS
                      IN THE SCHOOL (INSTRUCTIONAL PURPOSES)

   Observation and experimentation with living organisms and animals gives students unique
   perspectives of life processes. Animals and animal materials should be used respectfully
   and for the purpose of meeting course objectives.

   The Board of Education, in recognizing the educational uses of animals in the classroom,
   requires that permission be obtained from the Building Principal before animals are
   brought into the school or classrooms. It is the Principal's responsibility to ensure that
   there is an appropriate educational purpose if any animal is housed in a classroom.
   Animals are not to be transported on school buses with the exception of animals certified to
   assist persons with disabilities.

   Study and Care of Live Animals

   It shall be the responsibility of the Principal or his/her designee to develop a plan of care
   for those animals housed in school in the event of an emergency school closing or in the
   event the animals remain in the classroom on days when school is not in session.

   Dissection of Animals

   Any student expressing a moral or religious objection to the performance or witnessing of
   the dissection of an animal, either wholly or in part, shall be provided the opportunity to
   undertake and complete an alternative project approved by the student's teacher; provided,
   however, that such objection is substantiated in writing by the student's parent or legal
   guardian. An alternative activity clearly related to and of comparable rigor will be
   assigned in lieu of laboratory dissection. Students who perform alternative projects shall
   not be penalized.

   Effective July 1, 2011, the District will give reasonable notice to all students enrolled in a
   course that includes the dissection of an animal and students’ parent(s)/legal guardian(s)
   about their rights to seek an alternate project to dissection. Such notice shall be made
   available upon request at the school and distributed to parents and students enrolled in a
   course that includes dissection at least once at the beginning of the school year.

   Instruction in the Humane Treatment of Animals
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    Students in elementary school must receive instruction in the humane treatment and
    protection of animals and the importance of the part they play in the economy of nature as
    well as the necessity of controlling the proliferation of animals that are subsequently
    abandoned and caused to suffer extreme cruelty. Such instruction shall be for a period of
    time as specified by the Board of Regents and may be joined with work in literature,
    reading, language, nature study, or ethnology.

    Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 United States Code (USC) Section 12101 et. seq.
    Education Law Section 809
    8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 100.2(c)(8)

10. Board Policy 8320: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS - SELECTION OF LIBRARY
                       AND AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS

     The Board of Education agrees that the responsibility of the school library is:
     a) To provide materials that will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into
     consideration the varied interests, abilities and maturity levels of the students served.
     b) To provide materials that will stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary
     appreciation, aesthetic values and ethical standards.
     c) To provide a background of information that will enable students to make intelligent
     judgments in their daily lives.
     d) To provide materials on opposing sides of controversial issues so that young citizens
     may develop, under guidance, the practice of critical reading and thinking.
     e) To provide materials representative of the many religious, ethnic, and cultural groups
     and their contribution to our American heritage.
     f) To place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection
     of materials of the highest quality in order to assure a comprehensive collection
     appropriate for the users of the library.
     In interpreting these principles, the following will apply:
     a) Broad and varied collections will be developed systematically by the librarian and the
     audiovisual specialist, based on recommendations of the professional staff and
     suggestions of students and parents. Final approval will be made by the building principal.
     b) Qualitative standards of selection involving factual accuracy, authoritativeness, artistic
     quality and appeal will be applied by librarians and audiovisual specialists before
     purchases are made.
     c) Materials will not be excluded because of the race, nationality, political opinions or
     religious views of the author.
     d) Materials will be continuously re-evaluated in relation to changing curriculum and
     instructional needs. Worn out, out-dated materials will be discarded.

     Rules of the Board of Regents Section 21.4

11. Board Policy 8321: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS - ACADEMIC
                       FREEDOM/TEACHER SELECTION OF AND/OR TEACHER
                       SUPPLIED INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS
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      The Board of Education recognizes the right of the teacher to provide information that
      will enrich and support the curriculum while, at the same time, taking into consideration
      the needs of the individual student, especially as it regards the diversity of learning styles,
      varied interests, abilities and maturity levels of students. Classroom discussion and/or
      selection of supplemental instructional materials by the teacher must be of educational
      merit, reflect the appropriate curriculum and/or course of study, and reflect the diverse
      needs of the students served.
      Further, the Board believes that such academic freedom also carries with it educational
      responsibility that is determined by the basic ideals, goals, and policies of the School
      District. While the Board is opposed to unrestricted censorship or restraint that interferes
      with the educational responsibility of the classroom teachers, the Board also expects that
      controversial issues will be presented in a fair and unbiased manner, without undue
      pressure or coercion by the classroom teacher to impose his/her opinion on the
      students.
      As a consequence of Board responsibility to guarantee academic freedom to both students
      and teachers, and as befits their professional status, teachers are encouraged to provide
      appropriate supplementary instructional materials for classroom use in addition to district
      provided materials in accordance with administrative regulations.

Use of Video Tapes/Films in Classroom Instruction

      Teachers who wish to use video tapes and/or films in classroom instruction must follow
      established procedures – see Teacher Handbook. Additionally, teachers who wish to
      utilize such video tapes and/or films in their classroom must not use such purchased or
      rented visual technology resources which are marked “For Home Use Only.” Teachers
      are authorized to use for classroom instruction, and are responsible for securing those
      films, videos and other visual technology resources which are designated for public
      performance, or for which permission for public performance has been obtained. Prior to
      using, resources not selected from designated curriculum guides utilized by the school,
      teachers must report to their building principal or designee, their intention to use such
      materials in the classroom.
      Implementation
      The District shall ensure that its administrative/instructional personnel shall be aware of
      District policy and procedures (Teacher Handbook) pertaining to this topic.

      Education Law Section 1709(3)

12. Board Policy 8322: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS -
                       TEXTBOOKS/WORKBOOKS

      The term "textbook" shall refer to a book supplied to a student for a fixed period of time
      for his/her personal use and basic to the study of a subject. The Board of Education shall
      make provision for funds to be budgeted for the purchase of textbooks and related
      instructional materials. Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools, the
      Board of Education shall designate the textbooks to be used. Students will be required to
      pay for lost books or for excessive damage to books.
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                               72



     Textbooks for Resident Students Attending Private Schools

     Resident students attending private schools will be supplied non-sectarian textbooks in
     accordance with the requirements of Education Law.

     Workbooks

     The Board of Education shall approve the expenditure of funds for the purchase of
     workbooks and manuals.
     The term "workbook" shall refer to the type of book that provides spaces to write in and
     is consumed each year. It is usually paper-covered and designed to be used in connection
     with a textbook.

     Educational Materials Containing Advertising

     Educational materials with advertising may be accepted for use in Schools if the material
     has sufficient educational benefit to children of the District and is specifically related to
     the curriculum. Procedures for the evaluation and approval/disapproval of such materials
     shall be developed by the Superintendent of Schools.

     Education Law Section 701 et seq.

13. Board Policy 8330: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS - OBJECTION TO
                       INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

     Any criticism of instructional materials that are in the schools should be submitted in
     writing to the Superintendent. The Board of Education will be informed. A committee,
     including the librarian and building principal, will be designated by the Superintendent to
     investigate and judge the challenged material according to the principles and
     qualitative standards stated in Policy #8320.

14. Board Policy 8331: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS - CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES

     Controversial issues may be studied as part of the curriculum and teachers shall present
     these issues in their classrooms in an impartial and objective manner.

     Teachers wishing to call upon outside speakers in the presentation of controversial issues
     are required to obtain the approval of the principal who shall keep in mind the obligation
     for presenting opposing views as well, and who shall inform the Superintendent prior to
     the presentation.

     It is recognized that parents and citizens of the community have a right to protest to the
     school administration when convinced that unfair and biased presentations are being
     made by the teacher. In considering such protests, the Superintendent of Schools shall
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                            73


     provide for a hearing so that both parties may fairly express their views. If requested, the
     Superintendent's decision may be appealed to the Board of Education.

15. Board Policy 8332: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS - CURRICULUM AREAS IN
                       CONFLICT WITH RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

     A student may be excused from the study of specific materials if these materials are in
     conflict with the religion of his/her parents or guardian. Alternatives may be provided
     that are of instructional value.

     Education Law Section 3204(5)

     Education Law § 3204. Instruction required
     5. Subject to rules and regulations of the board of regents, a pupil may, consistent with
     the requirements of public education and public health, be excused from such study of
     health and hygiene as conflicts with the religion of his parents or guardian. Such
     conflict must be certified by a proper representative of their religion as defined by section
     two of the religious corporation’s law.

16. Board Policy 8333: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS - RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

     As provided by the Commissioner of Education, students may be released from school
     one (1) hour a week for religious instruction upon written request of the parents or
     guardian.

17. Board Policy 8334: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS - RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION
                       IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

     The Board of Education acknowledges the importance of religion to the understanding
     of society and the richness of the human experience. In approaching the teaching
     about religion in the school, the District will be guided by three concepts when making
     decisions about the appropriateness of activities for inclusion in the school program: the
     activity should have a secular purpose; the activity should neither advance nor inhibit
     religion; and the activity must not foster an excessive entanglement of “government” with
     religion.

     Nurturing the development of knowledge and respect for the rights of all cultural and
     religious groups is a continuing goal of the School District. Students, faculty and
     administration are reminded of the pluralism of religious beliefs and are urged to be
     conscious of and respect the sensitivity of others.

     Opportunities to learn about cultural and religious traditions should be provided within
     the framework of the curriculum. Information about religious and cultural holidays and
     traditions focusing on how and when they are celebrated, their origins and histories
     should be part of this instruction. This educational opportunity should be handled with
     great care, sensitivity and respect for the feelings and beliefs of individuals.
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                              74



     An environment should be created and encouraged where students of various ethnic
     backgrounds feel comfortable in sharing comments about their religious and cultural
     traditions. No student should be singled out to share or participate in such discussions
     solely on the basis of that student’s identification with the cultural/religious heritage
     being addressed. A student’s preference not to share or participate in such discussions
     should be honored and respected without penalty.

     School Activities Related to Religious Holidays or Themes

     a) School activities related to the teaching about religious holidays or themes must be
     consistent with, representative of, and congruent with the District’s curriculum.
     b) In planning school activities related to the teaching about religious holidays or
     themes, special effort must be made to ensure that the activity is not devotional and that
     students of all faiths can join without feeling they are betraying their own beliefs.
     c) In planning school activities related to the teaching about religious holidays or
     themes, age appropriate activities are encouraged within the framework of the
     curriculum. Teaching about religious and cultural holidays may include such special
     activities as parties and special foods, if they reinforce educational goals.

     Symbols in the Schools

     The purpose of using religious symbols should be to teach about religious concepts and
     traditions, and to convey historical or cultural content, not to promote or celebrate
     religious concepts, events or holidays.

     Music in the Schools

     The purpose of using religious music should be to teach musical concepts, to convey
     historical and cultural content, or to create aesthetic experiences in a setting which
     emphasizes artistic expression and educational value, not to promote or to celebrate a
     religious faith.

     District Calendar

     The days on which members of a religious group may be absent to observe a religious
     holiday (legal absence) will be noted on the school planning calendar and the District
     calendar distributed to parents/guardians. Out of respect for a student’s observance of
     these holidays, teachers will be sensitive to the needs of the student by allowing them to
     make up all class work, homework, and tests without penalty. Parents/guardians are
     encouraged to notify the school prior to the absence in order to assist the staff in
     instructional planning and in meeting the needs of the student.

     Curriculum Areas In Conflict With Religious Beliefs
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                              75


     Students shall be given the option to be excused from participating in those parts of an
     activity, program, or area of instruction involving a religious theme which conflicts with
     their own religious beliefs or that of their parents/guardians in accordance with applicable
     law and regulations. Alternatives may be provided that are of comparable instructional
     value.

     Implementation

     Administrative regulations will be developed to implement the terms of this
     policy. Further, the District shall publicize and disseminate this policy and
     accompanying regulations in order to ensure community, faculty, student, and
     parental/guardian awareness.

     United States Constitution, First Amendment
     New York State Constitution, Article XI, Section 4
     Equal Access Act, 20 United States Code (U.S.C.)
     Sections 4071- 4074
     Education Law Sections 1709(1) and (3), 3204(5) and 3210
     8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)
     Adopted: 2/5/03 Sections 16.2 and 109.2

     Education Law - Article 35 - (1701 - 1726) UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICTS
     § 1709. Powers and duties of boards of education. The said board of education of every
     union free school district shall have power, and it shall be its duty:

     1. To adopt such by-laws and rules for its government as shall seem proper in the
     discharge of the duties required under the provisions of this chapter.

     2. To establish such rules and regulations concerning the order and discipline of the
     schools, in the several departments thereof, as they may deem necessary to secure the
     best educational results.

     3. To prescribe the course of study by which the pupils of the schools shall be graded and
     classified, and to regulate the admission of pupils and their transfer from one class or
     department to another, as their scholarship shall warrant

     § 3210. Amount and character of required attendance.
     1. Regularity and conduct.
     a. A minor required by the provisions of part one of this article to attend upon
     instruction shall attend regularly as prescribed where he resides or is employed, for the
     entire time the appropriate public schools or classes are in session and shall be
     subordinate and orderly while so attending.

     b. Absence for religious observance and education shall be permitted under rules that the
     commissioner shall establish.
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                            76


     c. In the event that a person requests the release of a minor required by the provisions
     of part one of this article to attend upon instruction, the identity of such person shall
     be verified against a list of names provided by the person or persons in parental
     relation to the minor, as defined in section two of this chapter, at the time of such
     minor's enrollment. The school district may adopt appropriate procedures for the
     purpose of submitting a list of names at a later date or updating the list of names provided
     by the person or persons in parental relation. If such person is identified as one of those
     persons included on such list, such minor may be released from attendance. If such
     person is identified as a person not included on such list, such minor may not be
     released except in the event of an emergency as determined in the sole discretion of the
     principal of the school, or his designee, provided that the person or persons in parental
     relation to the minor have been contacted and have agreed to such release. A school
     district may presume that either parent of the student has authority to obtain the release
     of said minor unless the school district has been provided with a certified copy of the
     legally binding instrument such as the court order or decree of divorce, separation or
     custody which provides evidence to the contrary. No situation shall be deemed an
     emergency until the facts of such situation have been verified by such principal or his
     designee. No civil or criminal liability shall arise or attach to any school district or
     employee thereof for any act or omission to act as a result of, or in connection with, the
     duties or activities authorized or directed by this paragraph. The foregoing procedure
     shall not apply to release of a minor pursuant to the protective custody provisions of the
     social services law and the family court act.

     2. Attendance elsewhere than at a public school.

     a. Hours of attendance. If a minor included by the provisions of part one of this article
     attends upon instruction elsewhere than at a public school, he shall attend for at least as
     many hours, and within the hours specified therefore.

     b. Absence. Absence from required attendance shall be permitted only for causes allowed
     by the general rules and practices of the public schools. Absence for religious observance
     and education shall be permitted under rules that the commissioner shall establish.

     c. Holidays and vacations. Holidays and vacations shall not exceed in total amount and
     number those allowed by the public schools.

     d. Exception. In applying the foregoing requirements a minor required to attend upon full
     time day instruction by the provisions of part one of this article may be permitted to
     attend for a shorter school day or for a shorter school year or for both, provided, in
     accordance with the regulations of the state education department, the instruction he
     receives has been approved by the school authorities as being substantially
     equivalent in amount and quality to that required by the provisions of part one of this
     article.

18. Board Policy 8335: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS - CONSTITUTIONALLY
                       PROTECTED PRAYER IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                           77



     In accordance with the most recent Guidance Document issued by the U.S. Department
     of Education implementing the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001,
     the Board of Education affirms the responsibilities of the School District, consistent with
     applicable statutory/case law pertaining to the First Amendment of the United Stated
     Constitution, to allow students and staff to engage in constitutionally protected
     prayer within the District schools.

     Accordingly, no Board of Education policy shall prevent, or otherwise deny
     participation in, constitutionally protected prayer in District schools, consistent with
     the Guidance Document and applicable law.

     The Board rescinds any other policy that may be inconsistent with the mandates of this
     policy, which shall supersede any and all Board policies to the contrary.

     Section 9524 of the Elementary and Secondary
     Education Act of 1965,
     as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
     United States Constitution, First Amendment
     Equal Access Act
     20 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 4071-4074

19. Board Policy 3280: PARTICIPATION BY THE PUBLIC - COMMUNITY USE OF
                       SCHOOL FACILITIES

     It shall be the policy of the Board to encourage the greatest possible use of school
     buildings for community-wide activities. This is meant to include use by recognized
     civic, social and fraternal and religious organizations in accordance with law. Groups
     wishing to use the school facilities must secure written permission from the
     Superintendent and abide by the rules and regulations established for such use including
     restrictions on alcohol, tobacco and drug use. The Superintendent, at his/her discretion,
     may consult with the Board of Education. Monthly reports may be made to the Board
     regarding community use of the school facilities.

     Education Law Section 414
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                              78


                   SECTION XV: ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS

1. Administrative Regulation 6122
General Statement:

       The Allegany-Limestone Central School District does not discriminate on the basis of
       sex, age, veteran or marital status, political affiliation, race, creed or religion, color,
       national origin, or disability in the employment and educational opportunities it offers,
       including vocational educational opportunities as required by Title IX of the 1972
       Educational Amendments and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (Allegany-
       Limestone Central School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 6122)

       Guidelines: Employees of the Allegany-Limestone Central School District are protected
       from discrimination in the following areas:

   8. Access to employment including: recruitment policies and practices; advertising;
       application procedures; testing and interviewing practices.
   9. Hiring and promotion including: selection practices; application of nepotism policies;
       demotion, layoff, termination; tenure.
   10. Compensation including: wages and salaries; extra compensations.
   11. Job assignments including: classification and position descriptions; lines of progression;
       seniority lists; assignment and placement.
   12. Leaves of absence including: leaves for temporary disability; childbearing leave and
       related medical conditions; childrearing leave.
   13. Fringe benefits including: insurance plans; retirement plans; vacation time; travel
       opportunities; selection and support for training; employer-sponsored programs.
   14. Labor organization contracts or professional agreements. (Allegany-Limestone Central
       School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 6122)

2. Administrative Regulation 7410R.2: STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS - LIMITED
                                      OPEN FORUM

       The Equal Access Act of 1984 states that:

       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 (20 USC Section 4071 [a]). (Allegany-Limestone Central
       School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 7410R.2)

Definitions

   5. Limited Open Forum – “A public secondary school has a limited open forum whenever
      such school grants an offering to or opportunity for one or more non-curriculum related
      student groups to meet on school premises” (20 USC Section 4071 [b]).
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                             79


  6. Meeting – “meeting” includes “those activities of student groups which are permitted
     under a school’s limited open forum and are not directly related to the school curriculum”
     (20 USC Section 4072[4]).
  7. Non-instructional Time - “Non-instructional time” is defined as the time set aside by the
     school before actual classroom instruction begins or after actual classroom instruction
     ends” (20 USC Section 4072[4]).
  8. Curriculum Related Student Groups
     Non-curriculum related student groups, interpreted by the United States Supreme Court
     in Westside Community Board of Education v. Mergens, mean “any student group that
     does not directly related to the body of courses offered by the school.” The Court
     indicated that curriculum related student groups are those in which:

         a)      Subject matter of the group is actually taught, or soon will be taught, in a
                 regularly offered course;
         b)      Subject matter of the group concerns the body of courses as a whole;
         c)      Participation in the group is required for a particular course; or
     Participation in the group results in academic credit. (Allegany-Limestone Central
     School District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 7410R.2)

     At the secondary level, student groups protected under the Equal Access Act shall be
     permitted to meet on the school premises during non-instructional time under the
     following conditions:

  7) A meeting is student-initiated and open to all students. Student attendance at such a
      meeting must be voluntary.
  8) School employees may be present only for custodial purposes; they may not participate
      or provide sponsorship.*
      *Sponsorship is defined as “the act of promoting, leading, or participating in a meeting.
      The assignment of a teacher, administrator, or other school employee to a meeting for
      custodial purposes does not constitute sponsorship of the meeting.” (20 USC Section
      4072 [2]).
  9) A meeting does not include any activity that materially and substantially interferes with
      the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school.
  10) Unless otherwise allowed by current applicable law, membership shall not be restricted
      on the basis of race, sex, national origin, disability or any other arbitrary criteria.
  11) It is understood that the content of a student meeting is not sponsored by the School
      District.
  12) While students may invite outside speakers to meeting, non-school persons may not
      direct, conduct, control or regularly attend such meetings or activities of student groups.
      A request to meet must be filed in advance with the Superintendent. Once approval is
      obtained, a student group may continue to meet for the remainder of the school year,
      unless such group fails to abide by the conditions stated within Board policy or
      administrative regulation. A hearing shall be provided, however, before a decision is
      reached to discipline or ban a student organization. (Allegany-Limestone Central School
      District, 2002, Administrative Regulation 7410R.2)
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                             80


3. Administrative Regulation 8290R: RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN THE PUBLIC
                                    SCHOOLS

      These regulations have been developed to provide guidance to District staff and students
      regarding religious expression in the public schools. Guidance beyond the statements in
      these regulations may be found in four basic principles which would apply to the topic of
      teaching about religion in schools:

      1)     Is it constitutionally permissible;
      2)     Is it educationally sound;
      3)     Is it culturally sensitive; and
      4)     Is it age appropriate?

Student Prayer and Religious Discussion

      The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment does not prohibit purely private
      religious speech by students. Students, therefore, have the same right to engage in
      individual or group prayer and religious discussion during the school day as they do to
      engage in other comparable activity. For example, students may read their Bibles or
      other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray before tests to the same extent they
      many engage in comparable non-disruptive activities. School authorities possess
      substantial discretion to impose rules of order and other pedagogical restrictions on
      student activities, but they may not structure or administer such rules to discriminate
      against religious activity or speech.

      Generally, students may pray in a non-disruptive manner when not engaged in school
      activities or instruction, and subject to the rules that normally pertain in the applicable
      setting. Specifically, students in informal settings, such as cafeterias and hallways, may
      pray and discuss their religious views with each other, subject to the same rules of order
      as apply to other student activities and speech. Students may also speak to, and attempt
      to persuade, their peers about religious topics just as they do with regard to political
      topics. School officials, however, should intercede to stop student speech that constitutes
      harassment aimed at a student or a group of students.

      Students may also participate in before or after school events with religious content on
      the same terms as they may participate in other non-curriculum activities on school
      premises. School officials may neither discourage nor encourage participation in such an
      event.

      The right to engage in voluntary prayer or religious discussion free from discrimination
      does not include the right to have a captive audience listen, or to compel other students to
      participate. Teachers and school administrators should ensure that no student is in any
      way coerced to participate in religious activity” (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’
      Handbook, 2002).

Graduation Prayer and Baccalaureates
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                                 81



       “Under current Supreme Court decisions, school officials may not mandate or organize
       prayer at graduation, nor organize religious baccalaureate ceremonies. If a school
       generally opens its facilities to private groups, it must make its facilities available on the
       same terms to organizers of privately sponsored religious baccalaureate services. A
       school may not extend preferential treatment to baccalaureate ceremonies and may, in
       some instances, be obliged to disclaim official endorsement of such ceremonies”
       (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’ Handbook, 2002).

Official Neutrality Regarding Religious Activity

       “Teachers and school administrators, when acting in those capacities, are representatives
       of the state and are prohibited by the establishment clause from soliciting or encouraging
       religious activity, and from participating in such activity with students. Teachers and
       administrators also are prohibited from discouraging activity because of its religious
       content and from soliciting or encouraging anti-religious activity” (Allegany-Limestone
       Administrators’ Handbook, 2002).

Teaching About Religion

       Public schools may not provide religious instruction, but they may teach about religion,
       including the Bible or other scripture: the history of religion, comparative religion, the
       Bible (or other scripture)-as-literature, and the role of religion in the history of the United
       States and other countries all are permissible public school subjects. Similarly, it is
       permissible to consider religious influences on art, music, literature, and social studies.
       Although public school may teach about religious holidays, including their religious
       aspects, and may celebrate the secular aspects of holidays, schools may not observe
       holidays as religious events or promote such observance by students (Allegany-
       Limestone Administrators’ Handbook, 2002).

Student Assignments

       Students may express their beliefs about religion in the form of homework, artwork, and
       other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content
       of their submissions. Such home and classroom work should be judged by ordinary
       academic standards of substance and relevance, and against other legitimate pedagogical
       concerns identified by the school (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’ Handbook,
       2002).

Religious Literature

       Students have a right to distribute religious literature to their schoolmates on the same
       terms as they are permitted to distribute other literature that is unrelated to school
       curriculum or activities. Schools may impose the same reasonable time, place, and
       manner or other constitutional restrictions on distribution of religious literature as they do
       on non-school literature generally, but they may not single out religious literature for
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                               82


      special regulation” (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’ Handbook, 2002).

Religious Exemptions from Instruction

      Subject to applicable state laws, schools enjoy substantial discretion to excuses individual
      students from lessons that are objectionable to the student or the students’
      parents/guardians on religious or other conscientious grounds. However, students
      generally do not have a federal right to be excused from lessons that may be inconsistent
      with their religious beliefs or practices. School officials may neither encourage nor
      discourage students from availing themselves of such a religious exemption. However, if
      such exemption is granted, alternative activities may be provided that are of comparable
      instructional value (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’ Handbook, 2002).

Released Time

      Subject to applicable state laws, schools have the discretion to dismiss students to off-
      premises religious instruction, provided that schools do not encourage or discourage
      participation or penalize those who do not attend. Schools may not allow religious
      instruction by outsiders on school premises during the day (Allegany-Limestone
      Administrators’ Handbook, 2002).

Teaching Values

      Though schools must be neutral with respect to religion, they may play an active role
      with respect to teaching civic values and virtue, and the moral code that holds us together
      as a community. The fact that some of these values are held also by religions does not
      make it unlawful to teach them in school (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’
      Handbook, 2002).

Student Dress

      Schools enjoy substantial discretion in adopting rules and regulations relating to student
      dress and school uniforms. Students generally have no federal right to be exempted from
      religiously neutral and generally applicable school dress rules based on their religious
      beliefs or practices; however, school may not single out religious attire in general, or
      attire of a particular religion, for prohibition or regulation. Students may display
      religious messages on items of clothing to the same extent that they are permitted to
      display other comparable messages. Religious messages may not be singled out for
      expression, but rather are subject to the same rules as generally apply to comparable
      messages.

The Equal Access Act

      The Equal Access Act [EAA] is designed to ensure that, consistent with the First
      Amendment, student religious activates are accorded the same access to public school
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                            83


      facilities as are student secular activities (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’
      Handbook, 2002).

General Provisions

      Student religious groups at public secondary schools have the same right of access to
      school facilities as it enjoyed by other comparable student groups. Under the Equal
      Access act, a school receiving federal funds that allows one or more student non-
      curriculum related clubs to meet on its premises during non-instructional time may not
      refuse access to student religious groups (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’
      Handbook, 2002).

Prayer Services and Worship Exercises Covered

      A meeting, as defined and protected by the Equal Access Act, may include a prayer
      service, Bible reading or other worship exercise (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’
      Handbook, 2002).

Equal Access to Means of Publicizing Meetings

      A school receiving federal funds must allow student religious groups meeting under the
      Equal Access Act to use the school media -- including the public address system, the
      school newspaper, and the school bulletin board – to announce their meetings on the
      same terms as other non-curriculum related student groups are allowed to use the school
      media. Any policy, rule or regulation concerning the use of school media must be
      applied to all non-curriculum related student groups in a nondiscriminatory manner.
      School, however, may inform student that certain groups are not school sponsored
      (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’ Handbook, 2002).

Lunch Time and Recess Covered

      A school creates a limited open forum under the Equal Access Act, triggering equal
      access rights for religious groups, when it allows students to meet during their lunch
      periods other non-instructional time during the school day, as well as when it allows
      students to meet before and after the school day (Allegany-Limestone Administrators’
      Handbook, 2002).
RELIGION GUIDELINES                                                                        84


                                        Reference

Allegany-Limestone Central School District (2011). Board policy manual. Retrieved

       from http://www.alcsny.org/Page/1071


Allegany-Limestone Central School District (2002). Regulation manual. Allegany-

       Limestone Board of Education.


New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (2011). Title 8: Education Department. Retrieved from

       http://government.westlaw.com/linkedslice/default.asp?SP=nycrr-1000


New York State Legislature (2011). Laws of New York: Education law. Retrieved from

       http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menuf.cgi


New York State School Boards Association (2010). School law (33rd ed). Latham, NY: Lexis

       Nexis.


New York State Education Department (2011). Decisions of the Commissioner of

       Education. Retrieved from http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/Decisions/


Olean City Central School District (2011). Board policy manual. Retrieved from

       http://www.oleanschools.org/854101016988653/site/default.asp


Randolph Central School District (2011). Board policy manual. Retrieved from

       http://www.randolphcsd.org/policies.cfm

				
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