The Equal Access Act - Student Rights in the Public Schools 2004 | American Center for Law and Justice
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The Equal Access Act is designed to ensure that, consistent with the First Amendment, student religious activities are accorded the same access to public school facilities as are student secular activities. Based on decisions of the Federal courts, as well as its interpretations of the Act, the Department of Justice has advised that the Act should be interpreted as providing, among other things, that:


General provisions: Student religious groups at public secondary schools have the same right of access to school facilities as is enjoyed by other comparable student groups. Under the Equal Access Act, a school receiving Federal funds that allows one or more student noncurriculum-related clubs to meet on its premises during noninstructional time may not refuse access to student religious groups.


Prayer services and worship exercises covered: A meeting, as defined and protected by the Equal Access Act, may include a prayer service, Bible reading, or other worship exercise.


Equal access to means of publicizing meetings: A school receiving Federal funds must allow student groups meeting under the Act to use the school media - including the public address system, the school newspaper, and the school bulletin board - to announce their meetings on the same terms as other noncurriculum-related student groups are allowed to use the school media. Any policy concerning the use of school media must be applied to all noncurriculum-related student groups in a nondiscriminatory matter. Schools, however, may inform students that certain groups are not school sponsored.


Lunch-time and recess covered: A school creates a limited open forum under the Equal Access Act, triggering equal access rights for religious groups, when it allows students to meet during their lunch periods or other noninstructional time during the school day, as well as when it allows students to meet before and after the school day.


- The Department of Education's

guidelines for the Equal Access

Act were revised May 1998.

ACLJ Comments on HHS Mandate Accommodations

By Geoffrey Surtees1474040828956

The First Amendment forbids the government from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a federal law passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 1993, precludes the government from substantially burdening religious freedom without satisfying the...

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ACLJ Headed to Appeals Court

By Carly F. Gammill1473441050496

For over two years, we have been fighting in federal court to vindicate the rights of Dustin Buxton, a Maryland student who was penalized, when applying for a seat in the Radiation Therapy Program at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), because he mentioned his faith during the...

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Defending Religious Liberty in Armed Forces

By Skip Ash1472495173576

Have you heard what Mikey Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are up to now?!? They have discovered that an Air Force major stationed at a base in Colorado keeps an open copy of the Bible on his desk at work. Sounds pretty benign, right? Not so according to Mr. Weinstein...

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The Contrast Between the ACLJ and the MRFF

By Wesley Smith1472224939648

While the American Center for Law and Justice continues to (1) fight for religious freedom, (2) fight the scourge of genocide throughout the world, (3) battle to limit unconstitutional Executive overreach by the IRS and the Obama Administration, it appears that Mikey Weinstein and the Military...

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