Dos & Don’ts: Tips for Students!
Talk about it with friends! You also have the right to read, study and discuss the Bible with friends—so long as the activities are voluntarily led by students and done in a way that is not disruptive of instruction or classroom time. That means you have the freedom to lead discussions about the Bible during free periods like the lunch hour, breaks between classes or during student-led meetings before and after class.
Remember that you have the freedom to use your Bible as a resource or quote from it for a homework assignment—so long as it is relevant to the subject the teacher would like for you to address and meets the requirements of the assignment.
Give a Bible to a friend! You have the right to offer free Bibles to friends at school as long as you do so in a way that does not disrupt instruction time. So you could share Bibles with friends, for example, during lunch, while walking to class, or before or after school.
Be respectful. Remember: It’s extremely important to remain courteous, even when you meet obstacles or challenges from others. If a principal or teacher, or someone else in authority asks you to stop participating in Bring Your Bible to School Day activities or to stop distributing event materials before and after class, graciously request that they check with a supervisor first and explain their reason for asking you to stop.
If they continue to insist you stop, you should stop immediately. Then you can call 1-800 Tell-ADF for help in resolving the situation quickly—or to request advice if you suspect that school policies are being applied in a discriminatory manner or in a way that unreasonably limits your ability to engage or communicate with other students. ADF, Alliance Defending Freedom, has a team of experienced lawyers ready and willing to help you remove any improper or unconstitutional roadblocks interfering with your free speech rights. (Learn more at Know Your Rights).
Be pushy or coercive with other students. You do not have the right to force other students to listen to you or harass them. But you can invite them to voluntarily participate in your activities and student-led discussions. Remember—this is about conversations, not confrontations!
Be intimidated into silence. Remember, as a student you have the right to express your personal religious beliefs and to voluntarily engage in faith-based activities that are led by students and do not occur during classroom or instruction time. This includes the right to distribute literature to other students (subject to reasonable limits as to the times and locations where you can distribute it). But schools cannot completely ban literature distribution. The courts have said that school officials must remain neutral in how they treat students’ activities and free-speech expressions. That means, for example, that school officials can’t allow one student group’s poster having to do with a secular subject to be put on a wall, but then turn around and deny permission to students who want to display Bring Your Bible to School Day posters just because they refer to scripture or students’ religious beliefs. That could likely amount to illegal viewpoint discrimination. So if you feel that you might be running into a case of viewpoint discrimination at your school, call 1-800-TELL-ADF.
Disrupt classroom instruction. It is extremely important that you only distribute your Conversation Cards or other Bring Your Bible to School Day materials during breaks, lunch hours or before or after school. DO NOT pass out cards during class time or be late to class (or cause others to be late) as result of your participation.
Wait until the last minute. Oftentimes, schools have procedures or requirements that require you to obtain permission to display posters or schedule an after-school event. So make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to plan a successful Bring Your Bible to School Day!