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Q & A: Christian Educators members ask… 

The answers or opinions expressed in this article are not intended to render legal advice. The factual and legal issues in each circumstance must be considered and may require the advice of an attorney.

A block of time is built into the middle of our school day, allowing students the ability to receive academic tutoring, attend student clubs, etc. Since other student clubs meet during this midday time block, can a student-led Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) group also meet? Or, does an FCA group have to meet outside of school hours because it is a Christian club?
Student-led Christian clubs cannot be treated differently than other clubs, so this FCA group should be allowed to meet during this time.

Can a public school sports team pray together before or after an athletic event?
Yes, the team can pray together, but the coach cannot initiate or lead the prayer. Students must initiate and lead the prayer because the Constitution only protects student-led prayer. 

I am a special education teacher. The aggressive behavior of some of my students forces me to restrain them as often as three times per day. Due to this, my safety and the safety of other staff members and students are at risk. Most days, I am afraid to go to work. To make matters worse, my administrators told me not to report the violence to the local police. What should I do? 
Your district is responsible for creating a safe environment for staff and students. You certainly have a right to call the police if you are being assaulted at work, but doing so against an administrator's directives is usually not wise.
Instead, I'd suggest working through the school’s intervention assistance team. Look at the violent students’ IEPs. Perhaps the students are not in the least restrictive environments and placement changes need to be made in their IEPs. 
If you work with students prone to violence, you should receive training on how to safely restrain students so as not to hurt them or yourself. Realize that any time you touch a student, it could result in a lawsuit. However, the training in and use of proven restraint methods provides some protection against such a lawsuit.
I also suggest that you start documenting your concerns for student and staff safety and make sure decision-makers get copies. Well-documented concerns for district liability are more likely to get you the help you need.


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