First amendment issues in the control and use of public school facilities

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University of Alabama Libraries

The passage of the Equal Access Act (1984) brought to light the legal conflict that had been building over the previous four decades over who should or should not have access to public school facilities. Following the passage of the Act, many student and community groups began to request use of school facilities. School leaders were called on to balance conflicting principles found in the Establishment Clause, the Free Exercise Clause, the Free Speech Clause, and the Equal Access Act. This study examines these issues in light of legal cases resulting from these conflicting ideals. Legal cases from 1981 through 2009 relating to the control and use of school facilities were examined. Data from the cases were analyzed to determine guiding principles to aid school administrators in making decisions that will satisfy the principles of the Equal Access while balancing the demands of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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Educational administration, Education policy, Law