Religion in the Public School Curriculum
Because the U.S. Constitution clearly prohibits the promotion of religion in public schools, the courts have rigorously enforced rules against such activities as morning prayer and Bible reading. The teaching of religion as an academic subject, however, may be permissible, and indeed, some research suggests that it may produce desirable results. The latter practice is the subject of this entry. At issue in the case Abington Township v. Schempp (1963) was a policy of the state of Pennsylvania requiring students who attended public school to read at least 10 verses from the Bible everyday. In addition, Abington Township required the students in its district to recite the Lord's Prayer after completing these readings. Students could be exempted if their parents wrote a note requesting that their children be excluded from these exercises. The U.S. Supreme Court found that the required activities encroached on both the free exercise clause and the ...