See downloadable information regarding religious freedoms in public schools.
FCA Public School Handbook
Students Rights' Handbook
When can the FCA hold meetings on campus?
Usually, clubs meet during a school’s activity hour, just before or after school, or during lunch. All of these are permitted by the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Access Act. A school may limit time periods as long as it does so across the board. The school does not have to allow clubs to use supplies or equipment such as audio/visual or transportation equipment that clearly fall outside the realm of incidental costs of providing a meeting place-as long as it treats all clubs the same.
How may FCA advertise for its meetings and other events?
Under the First Amendent and the Equal Access Act, every club that meets the Act’s requirements and is a recognized student club is allowed the same access to the school’s facilities as every other recognized club. This includes access to public address systems, bulletin boards, the school newspaper, and other avenues that schools allow students to use to advertise their meetings and other events.
Students also have First Amendment free speech rights to distribute religious literature. However, schools may ‘impose content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions” on the advertisement of student clubs. For instance, it may require all flyers for club activities to be posted on a certain bulletin board, to avoid clutter (so long as all clubs are treated equally).
Our school does not recognize any non-curricular student clubs. Is there any way we can still hold Huddle meetings or have a campus chapter of FCA?
First, be certian that there are in fact no extracurricular student clubs meeting on your campus. If your campus has allowed at least one recognized student club to meet and use school facilities and equipment, it must allow other recognized clubs an equal opportunity to do so. If the school legitimately does not allow any student-led, non-curricular clubs on campus, you still may be able to request use of the school facilities as an off-campus, private group.
What if our school has restrictions based on religious content? (For example, we cannot put “Jesus,” “God,” or “Christ” on posters advertising our events)
Schools cannot prohibit the FCA from using religous words on its advertisements and other documents distributed to students, unless the speech causes a material disruption.
What recourse does FCA have if the school refuses to recognize FCA as a student club?
FCA encourages you to contact your local FCA office immediately. Our legal counsel will be available to help us discern the next step to resolve the issue.
Who can be a Huddle Leader(Huddle Coach)?
If a Huddle wants a greater degree of leadership from its faculty advisor or another outside person, it has the choice to not register as a recognized student club. In that case, the Huddle will still be able to use the campus for meetings as an outside community group, if other such outside groups are permitted to use school facilities.
What can Huddle Leaders(Huddle Coaches) do on campus?
If FCA is not a recognized student club and merely meets on school property outside of any school affiliation (like the Boy Scouts), then teacher participation is seen as personal and private involvement which is protected by freedom of speech rights.
May coaches lead prayer at practices and games?
Since coaches are employees of the school, they may not lead prayer at either practices or games. The dangers of an appearance of school endorsement and fear of coercion are present with coaches as well as teachers, because coaches are also employees of the school and represent the school to the athletes during these times.
Is there a way a coach or teacher can actively lead and participate in an FCA club?
Yes – a coach or teacher can lead an FCA club if it is not a recognized school club. Whether or not a school district recognizes student clubs, it may allow its facilities to be used by community groups which have no affiliation with the schools, such as the Boy Scouts, or various churches that may use school facilities on the weekends. FCA may request to use school facilities before or after hours as an independent community group. In that scenario, teachers may participate fully in Huddles as individuals engaging in private speech, even if they are employed at the particular school.
Can coaches meet with other coaches and teachers as a group?
If teachers are allowed to hold meetings unrelated to school business on the school premises, then they must also be allowed to discuss religion, pray with one another, etc., when there are no students involved.
What is the definition of a “Noncurriculum Related Student Group”?
In broad terms to mean any student group that does not directly relate to the body of courses offered by the school. Religious and political clubs by their nature are noncurriculum related.