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May teachers participate in student Bible clubs?

The Equal Access Act does not permit teachers to participate in the substantive religious discussions of a student religious group.  The clubs must be both student-initiated and student-led.  A teacher assigned by the school to attend meetings of an Equal Assess Bible Club may attend only in a nonparticipatory capacity under the specific terms of the EAA. [Hyperlink EAA—info on it will be listed below]

A faculty member may meet with student leaders of the Bible club off campus in order to assist and train them to witness to other students.  One teacher who contacted CLA about this matter was initially frustrated by this restriction, but chose to use the situation to mentor a few student leaders and train them to disciple other students.  It was heartening for this teacher to then see the students take an active role in leading their classmates to Christ, something that might not have developed so well had the students relied on the teacher to do the witnessing herself.

Schools may appoint nonreligious, or even antireligious, teachers to monitor the Bible club.  This situation can even have a positive result.  One student reported to CLA that his Bible club’s school-appointed monitor accepted Christ as her Savior when the student gave a salvation invitation to the other students.  While this response may technically violated the Establishment Clause, no n of the club’s students complained about the experience to school officials.

—Keeping Christ in America’s Public Schools, Gibbs & Gibbs, 2008

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