Most school administrators make their web sites available to student-led clubs to inform the school community about student interests and publicize new activities. But what happens if that student group is of an avowedly religious nature, and the information that is being posted is intimidating to some students or teachers? Should the group be allowed to continue to post its information?
Consider the hypothetical case of a Christian group that has posted the Ten Commandments on its part of a school’s web site. Say that each week the group posts entries from students in which they describe how other students or teachers allegedly “broke” one or more of the Commandments. Should this site be closed, or are the club members exercising their freedom of expression? After all, they are an approved club at the school.
The editors of American School Board Journal offer three possible responses to a situations like the one described above:
1. Disallow the club’s access to posting on the school’s web site;
2. Let the club operate its part of the site as it chooses, because it is not breaking the acceptable-use policies about violence or pornography; or
3. Let the club continue to post information, but make it withdraw the weekly “transgressions” section.
The editors suggest the third option is the fairest course of action.
abstracted from “ASBJ Advisor” by the editors
The American School Board Journal, December 2001 http://www.asbj.com