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Cases & resources

Religious clubs

Supreme Court
Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 533 U.S. 98 (2001)
Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches School District, 508 U.S. 384 (1993)
Westside Community Schools v. Mergens 496 U.S. 226 (1990)

Other
Good News Club v. School Dist. of Ladue, 28 F.3d 1501 (8th Cir. 1994)

Text of the Equal Access Act (20 U.S.C. Sections 4071-74)


Denial of Equal Access Prohibited Sec. 4071.
(a) 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.
(b) A public secondary school has a limited open forum whenever such school
grants an offering to or opportunity for one or more noncurriculum-related
student groups to meet on school premises during noninstructional time.
© Schools shall be deemed to offer a fair opportunity to students who wish to
conduct a meeting within its limited open forum if such school uniformly provides that —
(1) the meeting is voluntary and student-initiated;
(2) there is no sponsorship of the meeting by the school, the government, or its agents or
employees;
(3) employees or agents of the school or government are present at religious meetings only in
a nonparticipatory capacity;
(4) the meeting does not materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of
educational activities within the school; and
(5) nonschool persons may not direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend
activities of student groups.
(d) Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to authorize the United States or any State or
political subdivision thereof —
(1) to influence the form or content of any prayer or other religious activity;
(2) to require any person to participate in prayer or other religious activity;
(3) to expend public funds beyond the incidental cost of providing the space for
student-initiated meetings;
(4) to compel any school agent or employee to attend a school meeting if the
content of the speech at the meeting is contrary to the beliefs of the agent
or employee;
(5) to sanction meetings that are otherwise unlawful;
(6) to limit the rights of groups of students which are not of a specified numerical
size; or
(7) to abridge the constitutional rights of any person.
(e) Notwithstanding the availability of any other remedy under the Constitution or the laws of
the United States, nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to authorize the United
States to deny or withhold Federal financial assistance to any school.
(f) Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to limit the authority of the school, its agents
or employees, to maintain order and discipline on school premises, to protect the well-being of
students and faculty, and to assure that attendance of students at meetings is voluntary. Definitions Sec. 4072. As used in this subchapter —
(1) The term "secondary school" means a public school which provides secondary education as determined
by State law. (2) The term "sponsorship" includes 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.
(3) The term "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.
(4) The term "noninstructional time" means time set aside by the school before actual classroom instruction
begins or after actual classroom instruction ends.
Severability Sec. 4073.
If any provision of this subchapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is judicially
determined to be invalid, the provisions of the remainder of the subchapter and the application to other
persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
Construction Sec. 4074.
The provisions of this subchapter shall supersede all other provisions of Federal law that are inconsistent
with the provisions of this subchapter.



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School prayer
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Pledge of Allegiance & religious liberty in public schools
Religious clubs
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Bible in school
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Graduation ceremonies
Evolution & creation