OK and Not OK

Basic Guidance for Teachers

Do you have questions regarding appropriate conduct of instruction about
religion? This section of the site offers basic guidance on teaching about
religion (and about religious and nonreligious worldviews) in
public school
classrooms
. The information is in tables with a left-column "Yes, Itís Okay to
Do It " and a right column "No, Itís Not Okay to Do It" format.
Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism
Most statements in these tables derive from recommendations found in
published references. The items generally are not direct quotations from
individual resources. (For further elucidation, please read our disclaimer and
explanation of wording below.)

References:
- United States Department of Education [USDE]
- Anti-Defamation League [ADL]
- A Teachers Guide to Religion in the Public Schools [TGRPS]
- Finding Common Ground: A Guide to Religious Liberty in Public Schools
[FCG]
-
Objectivity, Accuracy and Balance In Teaching About Religion [OABITAR]
- The California Three Rís Project of the First Amendment Center [3Rs]

Item Wording: Many sources' recommendations overlap, and
amalgamation has minimized some redundancy. Where applicable, items
do refer to a specific source reference and may also have a link to a specific
legal citation, if available. Some items and some wording adjustments
reflect
the inclusive concepts of human worldview diversity and civic
pluralism
apropos to the mission of this web resource. Items without a
bracketed reference are attributable to this web site, though such
statements are either widely accepted (amalgamations from several of the
sources) or are specific illustrations created to exemplify stated generalities.

Disclaimer: OABITAR provides these suggestions merely as general
classroom guidance and not as legal advice. In the main, these are generally
pragmatic suggestions, and many state and local laws and guidelines may
supersede them. Also, some situations have never been tested in court and
are therefore open to varied opinion. You should check with your local school
administration when you think any suggestion may be contrary to your
schoolís policies. Your professional affiliations (e.g., history, social science,
science) can perhaps provide additional information and guidance on
classroom conduct.

Do you have a predicament regarding your school? You may find yourself
in a situation where your school is not in compliance with state and/or
federal law and continues to promulgate contradictory policies. If you have
serious concerns that your rights and responsibilities as a teacher are being
compromised, you may want to get some advice from your national
professional organization, a lawyer, or a civil liberties organization.

[August, 2002] Corrections and comments on this section are invited.