State AG to students: Religious expression is fundamental right
Friday, January 5, 2018
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)
Public school students in Louisiana have new legal guidance about constitutionally-protected religious expression.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and U.S Rep. Mike Johnson have together released the Louisiana Student Rights Review to provide information on what is allowed at school under the U.S. Constitution.
"We wanted people to know, and students especially to know, that their First Amendment rights are not surrendered at the schoolhouse door," Landry tells OneNewsNow. "And that they do have a right to express their religious views while they are on campus and during their school time."
The legal guidelines are meant to help public school officials who might find themselves the target of atheist groups, which allege violations of the Establishment Clause and threaten costly lawsuits if their demands go unmet. Facing a costly court fight, the schools often back down.
"That's the reason we put the book out," Landry says. "It's put together in an easy-to-read format, and it lays out some great questions and answers that students may have in regards to exercising their religious beliefs during school time or during extracurricular activities."
Landry, a former U.S. congressman, won election to the attorney general's office in 2016.
He says America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, especially the belief that mankind's rights are God-given, not granted by human beings or by a government.
"That has been enshrined at the beginning from the Declaration of Independence through our Constitution," he says. "And so this is way to ensure that those students, as they go about their daily lives, understand that their religious beliefs are not to be dropped off at the front door of school."
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