Under the 1984 federal Equal Access Act, a secondary school that allows one or more noncurriculum related student groups to meet on school premises during noninstructional time may not deny equal access to or discriminate against students on the basis of religious, political, philosophical or other content of the speech at such meetings.
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It is not appropriate for a teacher or administrator to question a student as to the nature of the religious activity.
Parents should be informed of the student's responsibility to make up work missed during the religious absence.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151C, Section 2B, states: Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school.
No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity.
Although the Equal Access Act applies only to our middle and high schools, other federal law extends these principles to our elementary schools.
During the noninstructional portion of the school day, students wanting to pray aloud or in the company of others may do so without advance permission in areas open to students, such as the cafeteria during lunch hours, and school grounds during class breaks and before and after school.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you may be entitled to a reasonable religious accommodation.
A reasonable religious accommodation is any adjustment to the work environment that will allow you to practice your sincerely held religious beliefs or practices.
Requests to remove instructional materials or activities from an entire class of students must be presented according to the procedures outlined in Regulation 3009, Challenged Materials.
Thomas Jefferson University understands that some students may wish to observe religious holidays that fall on scheduled class days.
Parents who want their children to leave school property for religious activities during the school day or be absent for the entire day for religious activities must put their request in writing to the principal.