Gina S. Minnesota

Letter To The President

This is my letter to the Future President of the United States, regarding freedom of religion in public schools.

Dear Sir Or Madame,

I write to you today, with a matter of great importance, which is recognised by the first amendment, yet not fully acted upon by schools. I speak of the right to religious freedom, and, more specifically, religion in schools.

As was once most eloquently said by former president George H. W. Bush on March 3rd 1992, “Some people believe that freedom from religion requires the government to keep our lives free from religion. Well, I believe they’re just plain wrong. Our government was founded on faith. Government must never promote a religion, of course, but it is duty bound to promote religious liberty. And it must never put the believe at the disadvantage because of his belief.” I wholeheartedly agree to that extent. I believe that freedom of religion is not simply freedom from religion. Allowing others to practice their beliefs and allowing others to have none was written in the Amendments to the Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” on December 15th, 1791.

As the current president of the United States, would it not be appropriate to listen to those who are older (if not wiser) than yourself? To take away the freedom of religious practice from my fellow students is an entirely different interpretation of the foundation of this great country. In my own personal experience, I have felt the sting of religious restriction in schools. It was 2014, and I had made a cross from a leftover palm from Palm Sunday, and when I went to school, the other students told me that I ‘couldn’t have that here.” I decided to research my rights to religion on school property, and I created a small study about it. I tested different demographics of 7th and 8th grade students on religion, what religion were they, did they know their rights, the general questions. Most of the students didn’t know what denomination they were, or what most of the basic words meant. They new little to nothing about their right to religious freedom in school or public places. All of them had the misconception that religion was something they could not express in a public place such as a school. This is yet another reason to reform the current strangulation of freedom of religion in public schools.

Islamic students are often forced to perform their wudu at home, but as I learned from a site called The Christian Science Monitor, In 1993, a federal court ordered the district [San Diego] to allow students to engage in religious activities during lunchtime. I also learned from the site called Religious Tolerance, that the percentage of adults who regard themselves as Christian is currently dropping about one percentage point per year. Many older teens and young adults are leaving the faith group in which they were raised, and apparently not coming back. I believe that part of it can be attributed to the discouraging tone of public resources like schools.

I worry that people will not value religion and abandon their faith due in part to the oppressive and disrespectful nature of public schools. I ask, dear president, that you remember the young people who are still making their way in the world, and ensure that we all have the opportunity to worship freely in public schools.


Gina Sutherland

10th grade

Mendota Heights