The First Amendment prohibits any establishment of religion, a dicta that has been applied in an apparently inconsistent manner by the Supreme Court when called upon to evaluate various forms of verbal and nonverbal religious communication. Court decisions have approved religious prayers and displays in government settings. When such exercises and displays were introduced to the public school academic setting, the Court chose to disallow the practice. An examination of judicial opinions reveals that justices recognize three factors inherent to the academic setting which justify the apparently contradictory decisions. Because of the captive nature of the audience, the presence of peer pressure, and the unpredictability of pedagogical influences, the Supreme Court has significantly restricted religious communication in K-12 public schools.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.