Religion is among the highly controversial issues which often cause division. Like culture, there is an extensive diversity of religions in the United States, and all religions deserve absolute liberty according to the rule of law. Therefore, religious and non-religious people or institutions ought to respect and guard the rights of one another. From the case scenario, a teacher presents an open-ended question, where students are to describe their hero as a picture. One student submits the picture if Jesus at the last supper as their hero. The teacher should display the student’s submission if it has satisfied the rubric criteria, and to honor the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The student’s submission should be posted if they met the criteria of the assignment rubric. Since the case scenario does not detail the rubric requirements, it is okay to consider it as standard. That is, students were to follow instructions, make a pictorial description of any person they regard as a hero. Therefore, the reasons for low grading may be due to low quality or not following instructions. Nevertheless, the concerns about whether I should post the submission on Jesus as a hero reveals religious rather than educational issues. Had there been any reason to disregard Jesus as a hero, then the rubric ought to have guided that students should not pick religiously acknowledged persons or people from a certain generation, or any other specifics. Also, the school does not have any restrictions on the types of religious submissions made but restricts discussion that discourages or solicit religion (National Coalition Against Censorship, 2020). Therefore, the submission should be posted if it has met the grading criteria.
In the U.S., teachers are not to encourage or discourage any forms of religion. While Americans continue to pressure for the inclusion of religiosity in education, the Supreme Court banned religious inclusion in the education system (Engel v. Vitale 1962). Therefore, teachers should not advocate for any religion or do otherwise regarding their view of the church or the state (Anti-Defamation League, 2012). The teaching practice should be religiously neutral, focused on the subject matter without teachers’ opinions. Besides, the grading system should be standard, without favoritism or discrimination due to religion or other cultural practices. Therefore, not posting the submission concerning Jesus would be a bias against Christianity and a violation of the Bill of Rights.
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The Bill of Rights and the laws revolving freedom of persons apply to students as much as to teachers. In a similar scenario, Antonio Peck’s parents sued their son’s school for an allegedly biased evaluation. Antonio’s teacher had asked students to make a poster for an environmental program. Antonio had created a poster with a picture of Jesus and a message that only God could save the world (Peck v. Baldwinsville Central School District, 2008). The post was biased since it looked down on other religions. Antonio would later make a poster of people collecting rash and throwing it into a trashcan, which was considered as non-religious and fit for evaluation. Unlikely, the case situation for this essay does not have any religious sentiments. Though Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God, historical accounts regarding his life are arguable heroic. Therefore, there is ample historical validation that Jesus is a hero outside religious contexts, which makes the submission valid to be posted.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows a arrange of free-expression rights to students in public schools. Students can express their feeling and thoughts through speech, written articles, or assemble to pass their messages to teachers or the administration. According to the Supreme Court, students “do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gate” (Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969). However, the Court does restrict students from speech that would disrupt the school environment, in which cases the school official should restrict the speech. Generally, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits restrictions from freeing exercise of speech, worship, press, or assemble.
In that view, the failure to post the student’s submission is a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the Supreme Court’s decision. Firstly, the student has the right to communicate freely during the course work. There should be no restrictions on contributing their ideas to the teacher or other students. Secondly, they have the right to worship. Their opinions towards the religion of their choice are validated and protected against discrimination by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, not posting the picture of Jesus subjects the teacher into legal ramifications due to discrimination and violation of the Bill of Rights.
To sum up, the teacher should post the assignment if it has satisfied the rubric, and avoid the implications of violation of the Bill of Rights. The evaluation and grading process should be standard and follow the assignment rubric. Teachers should not advocate for any religion or do otherwise regarding their view of the church or the state. Similarly, students should not engage in religious biasing in assignments. Overall, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution freedom of suppression in speech and the right to worship.
Anti-Defamation League. (2012). Religion in the public schools. Retrieved on August 8, 2017, from https://www.adl.org/sites/default/files/documents/assets/pdf/civil-rights/religiousfreedom/rips/ReligPubSchs-PDF.pdf
Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962)
National Coalition Against Censorship. (2020). The First Amendment in Schools: Resource Guide: Religious Expression in the Public Schools – National Coalition Against Censorship. Retrieved from https://ncac.org/resource/the-first-amendment-in-schools-resource-guide-religious-expression-in-the-public-schools
Peck v. Baldwinsville Central School District, 99-CV-1847
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., 258 F. Supp. 971 (S.D. Iowa 1966)