Frederick Co. school board considers changes to its religious expression policy

The board of education in Frederick County, Maryland, is considering minor changes to its policy on religious expression, after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on religious expression at public schools.

The Frederick County Board of Education held a policy committee meeting in late August to discuss the policy changes. The first change would add a four-word update to the policy’s reference to the First Amendment’s free exercise clause on religious expression. The other two-word update would clarify that teachers cannot join students in religious activities.

The board’s policy on religious expression says Frederick County Public Schools “should exercise neutrality toward religion in its policies.”

The board is considering changes to its policy in the wake of a Supreme Court’s ruling on a religious freedoms case.

The nation’s highest court said in June that when a Seattle-area high school football coach silently prayed after games, he was protected by the Constitution. The coach’s praying had cost him his coaching job at Bremerton High School, The Associated Press reported.

Opponents of the Supreme Court’s decision said the football coach’s prayers had a coercive effect on students. The Associated Press reported that the decision’s opponents said the majority’s decision would open the door to “much more coercive prayer” in public schools.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Hugh Garbrick

Hugh graduated from the University of Maryland’s journalism college in 2020. While studying, he interned at the Queen Anne & Magnolia News, a local paper in Seattle, and reported for the school’s Capital News Service. Hugh is a lifelong MoCo resident, and has listened to the local radio quite a bit.

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