Traditional Baccalaureate Service While Celebrating Student Accomplishments Essay
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Traditionally, Glenwood City School District has organized and sponsored the religious Baccalaureate service on the Wednesday evening preceding graduation weekend. The focus of the service was the religious support by the inter-faith community, but the service also encompassed scholarships and additional awards. As the senior class advisor, I have seen a marked decline in the participation on the part of the students over the past five years; I have seen a marked decline in the participation on the part of the students. Students that chose not to participate in the Baccalaureate service cited the fact that they did not feel comfortable going to ‘church’ or that it was against their own identified religion. In order to appease those involved, especially the parents, the district felt it necessary to separate the service into two distinct events, while distancing ourselves from the religious aspect. The essential question was: How do we replace the traditional Baccalaureate service while celebrating student accomplishments?
Although it is not advertised in a positive light, the Constitution does allow for religious activity in the public schools. Unfortunately, this aspect of constitutional law is not as well-known as it should be. It is a common misconception that the Supreme Court has declared the public schools "religion-free zones" – which is simply wrong, or some claim that the law is so murky that school officials cannot know what is legally