Dating back to the Bible Riots of the mid-1800s, the role of religion in public schools has been one of the most hotly disputed—and most frequently misunderstood—religious freedom issues in America. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court has long made clear that the Constitution prohibits public school-sponsored prayer or religious indoctrination, violations remain rampant in many parts of the country. The ACLU works to protect public school students’ religious freedom by curbing the practice of school-sponsored prayer and proselytizing while simultaneously ensuring that students may freely express and exercise their faith.

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