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Opinion Pieces

If you have a viewpoint on this issue, we encourage you to write a letter to the editor of our community's legal news organ, The Statesboro Herald.  Letters may be sent to Jim Healy at jhealy@statesboroherald.com.

Viewpoints from all sides of the issue are in the chronological order in which they appeared in print. The titles of these pieces will be kept as they appeared in print as well for reference. The opinions expressed in these Letters to the Editor are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Bulloch County Board of Education, its superintendent or its employees.


Religious Liberty or Religious Bullying 

Discussion on Religion In Schools Deserves Accurate Information, Not Hyperbole

Constitution Protects Religious Traditions

SHS Grad Shares Negative Experience with Religion in Schools

Religious Rights & Religious Responsibilities

It's All About the Students (BOE Chairman Op/Ed)

Religious Liberties in Our Schools (Op/Ed)

BOE Commended for Handling of Religious Liberty Issue

Religious Liberties Discussion

In 2013-14 a discussion began in our community about the rights of Bulloch County Schools' employees to express their religious beliefs while serving in their official duties.  The Bulloch County Board of Education(Board) has not changed or adopted any new policies prohibiting the rights of school system employees to practice their constitutional rights of religious expression.  However, there was a reminder from Superintendent Charles Wilson to the school district's 15 school principals about the established legal requirements to which employees must adhere. This annual reminder is a common practice.

The Board wants its employees to be free to express their religious faiths to the fullest extent of the law.  The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, along with subsequent U.S. Supreme Court rulings, addresses these rights and restrictions. 

The Board and Superintendent support employees and their rights to express their beliefs and concerns.  They also support community-based efforts to seek appropriate remedy to infringement, real or perceived, upon freedom of religious expression with the proper authorities. While they stand in support, they are also bound by their oaths of office abide by all state and federal laws in carrying out  their official duties.

The specific issues that were discussed and clarified were the following: (1) Employee expressions of faith in public schools; (2) Religious quotes on school system email signatures; (3) Employee participation in student-initiated/led prayer; (4) Religious items in the classroom; and (5) Are employees being intimidated or influenced to suppress their religious beliefs.

The resources on this page may be helpful in understanding this matter.

Bulloch County Schools News Releases

Correspondences

Board: Email Policy Approved

At its meeting on February 13, 2014, the Bulloch County Board of Education approved a revision to its Employee Internet Acceptable Use Policy in regards to the use of email signature lines of the school system's email network.

At its January 9, 2014 meeting, the Bulloch County Board of Education placed a revision to its Employee Internet Acceptable Use Policy on the table for review and discussion.  It is customary for policy revisions to remain on the table for one month in order for the Board to hear input from employees or constituents within their districts.  

The policy revision ensures complete neutrality and impartiality within school system email signatures and addresses demands listed within a December 5 letter from Liberty Institute.  Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Kevin Judy wrote the revision.  The exact wording is as follows:

Employees' email accounts are owned by the District and are not their personal email accounts. The school account should be used for school matters. In using these accounts, employees should use an e-mail signature block that includes only the employee's name, title, assigned school, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number and fax number.  Employees should not include quotes or other personal messages as part of the signature block.

Video Segments

Bulloch County Board of Education Meeting (12/5/13)

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