Before the start of a public school's varsity football game, a student delivered a Christian prayer over the school's public address system. A Christian prayer was also read during graduation. The school instituted a policy that made the prayer voluntary, rather than mandatory, and required that it be "nonsectarian, non-proselytizing" though it did allow references to specific religious figures. The school used an election to determine which student would give the prayer.
What Amendment is at issue here? [The 1st Amendment]
What does the 1st Amendment protect? [Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.]
What does “nonsectarian, nonproselytizing” mean? [“Nonsectarian” means “not affiliated with or limited to a specific religious denomination.” “Nonproselytizing” means that it cannot attempt to recruit people to a religion.]
What do you think a Court ruled about this policy? [The Supreme Court of the United States held that the speech was public speech, forbidden by the Establishment Clause, rather than private speech, permitted by the First Amendment, because the prayers were authorized and regulated by a school policy and took place on “government property at government-sponsored school-related events.” The Court concluded that the school’s policy violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause because it did not create a forum open to indiscriminate use by the students. The Court also ruled that the election system further violated the Establishment Clause because it ensured that only the majority viewpoint would ever be expressed.]