School board updates 'Religion and Schools' policy
For the first time in 10 years, on Thursday, June 14, Molalla River School District's board of directors updated the "Religion and Schools" policy to add that the district is committed to teaching Oregon Social Science Standards related to religion.
"The policy has not been changed since the 2008 re-adoption, and the changes are based on a recommendation by the Oregon School Boards Association from earlier this spring," said Superintendent Tony Mann in an email. "As a result of OSBA's policy and legal review process, they have recommended changes; it is not a result of any new legislation or a change in the law."
The policy, IGAC, that was readopted in 2008 reads as follows. It can also be found online here.
"Teaching about Religion
"The Board recognizes that the public schools must remain neutral toward religion and must be careful not to prefer one religion over another. The curricular and extracurricular program and school services will therefore be guided by a policy of neutrality.
"While remaining neutral concerning religious belief, the district schools will foster respect for each individual's convictions about religion and an understanding and respect for all religions in general.
"This policy will be accompanied by administrative procedures."
The revised policy adopted Thursday is copied below and can also be found online here as part of the June 14 agenda packet.
"Religion and Schools
"Teachers shall be permitted to teach or present to students information concerning religions and religious beliefs, but teachers shall not promote or inhibit, openly or covertly or by subtlety, a particular religion, religious belief or nonreligious belief.
"Based on Oregon Social Science Standards, students will receive instruction to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to understand, describe and compare the beliefs, the spread, and the influence of religions throughout the world.
"Students and staff members may be excused from participating in programs or activities which are contrary to their religious beliefs without penalty."
As always, school board meetings are open to the public.