Louisiana Issues Guidelines for Free Speech in Schools

Jan 3, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson released a 15-page document as a valuable resource regarding the religious and free speech rights of students in public schools.

The “Louisiana Student Rights Review: Answers to Common Questions about Religious Freedom in Schools,” provides answers to 26 “frequently asked questions” regarding issues such as student-led prayer and when students can pray. The document also references cited court cases and Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Good News Clubs. Liberty Counsel represents Child Evangelism Fellowship nationally and has never lost a case at any court of final resort regarding the Good News Clubs.

The released guidelines, which Congressman Johnson and Attorney General Landry plan on mailing to every school superintendent in Louisiana, also state prayers at athletic events are permitted when school officials are not involved and student-led, student-initiated prayers must also be allowed at graduations. 

Congressman Johnson stated the Constitution and laws protect the rights of students to “live out their faith on campus. Religious liberty is the first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights, and the next generation of Americans needs to be encouraged to help preserve it.”

“We hope this publication helps all citizens better understand religious liberty because too many people have unfortunately been misled into believing schools must be religion-free zones. The truth is our First Amendment rights are not surrendered at the schoolhouse door,” said Landry.

Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Students may exercise their constitutional rights to religious free speech while on public school campuses during noninstructional times. They do not give up those rights just because they are in a public school. I commend Attorney General Jeff Landry and Congressman Mike Johnson for releasing these valuable guidelines. The guidelines are an excellent educational resource that every public school in the nation should have.”

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.