At the Mercy of the Majority

Sep 13, 2012 Print This Post

AT THE MERCY OF THE MAJORITY: Attacks on Religious Freedom in Texas Public Schools in the Decade after Santa Fe v. Doe documents the degree and persistence of conduct that impinges on students’ religious liberty. Download the full report here (PDF).

Read the full report, which is full of defiant examples of school board members, teachers and school administrators who thumb their noses at laws.

For most of us, public school is our first opportunity to meet and interact with people outside our own immediate families—people who may look different, act different, or have different beliefs from those who are raising us. To the extent American culture is a melting pot, public schools are where many of us first come into contact with the diversity of appearance, culture, and belief that represents the American experience. Public schools also provide our first encounter with the government and official authority, in the form of teachers, administrators, and school boards.

The ACLU of Texas receives dozens of complaints every year from students, parents, and teachers across Texas reporting that local public schools violate students’ religious freedom in a myriad of ways: prohibiting students from wearing religious attire, injecting sectarian religious views into classroom instruction, and even endorsing and requiring student prayer.

Yet most of the complainants are afraid of speaking out, even with the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court on their side. They fear if they go public with their concerns, their children will face retaliation at school. They fear social stigma in their towns. They fear loss of their jobs. They fear violence.

Featured in the report, Rabbi Tarlow, tells us about his experience helping a small Texas town overcome religious intolerance. Watch the video.

Please note that by playing the clips below YouTube and Google will place a long-term cookie on your computer. Please see YouTube’s privacy statement on their website and Google’s privacy statement on theirs to learn more. To view the ACLU of Texas’ privacy statement, click here.

Click here to read the full report, which is full of defiant examples of school board members, teachers and school administrators who thumb their noses at laws. And tell us if you have witnessed religious intolerance in your community.


EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT

Michelle Alexander at the Progressive Forum

Tuesday, October 2 at 7:30
Wortham Center, Cullen Theater

The event is produced in association with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas.

Purchase tickets here online.

Michelle Alexander asserts, “We have not ended the racial caste in America: we have merely redesigned it.” Her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindess, is a New York Times bestseller in which she examines how the mass incarceration of African American men.


Michelle Alexander
Civil Rights Lawyer, Legal Scholar, Advocate

Author: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindess

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