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​Religious Identity

Creating Inclusive Schools: Religious Identity

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Articles, Publications, and Reports

  • Religious Discrimination, U.S. Department of Education, OCR – This online resource page includes information regarding federal policy guidance and links to other relevant federal agencies that protect individuals from religious discrimination.

  • Considerations for Inclusive Holiday and Observances, Anti-Defamation League, 2014 – This document provides recommendations and best practices for teachers and schools leaders regarding ensuring that holidays and observances are educational, inclusive, and respectful.

  • Know Your Rights: Title VI and Religion, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) – This document provides an overview of students' rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. While Title VI does not explicitly protect against religious discrimination, it does prohibit discrimination on the basis of a religious group's actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.1

  • Religious Landscape Study, Pew Research Center – Provides demographic data and reports on religious affiliations, beliefs, and practices in the U.S.

  •  A Teacher's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools, First Amendment Center, 2008 – This guide provides information and resources for educators regarding common questions concerning religion and schools, including teaching courses on religion, religious expression of students and teachers, and including religion in curriculum (social studies, literature, art, music, etc.).

  • Religion in the Public Schools, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 2012 – This comprehensive guide provides information, resources, and case studies regarding religion and public education settings, including questions for educators and administrators regarding curricula, policies, calendar observations, and other practices.

  • The Seven Principles for Inclusive Education, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, 2011 – This document provides seven key principles for educators to promote inclusive classrooms. The report highlights inclusive and equitable pedagogy; exploring multiple identities; preventing prejudice; promoting social justice; choosing appropriate materials; teaching and learning about cultures and religions; and adapting and integrating lessons appropriately.

Lesson Plans and Activities

  • Classroom Resources – Religion, Teaching Tolerance – Educators can find lesson plans and classroom activities related to religion for grades K-12. Examples include curricula on "Countering Islamophobia," "Understanding Other Religious Beliefs," and "The Rich Tapestry of Religion in the United States," among others.

  • Webinar – Religious Diversity in the Classroom: Fostering a Culture of Respect, Teaching Tolerance and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, 2015 – This webinar provides an overview of strategies for creating inclusive and respectful classroom environments, including activities and lessons.

Other Resources

Federal Resources

State Resources

1 Please see Dear Colleague Letter – Title VI and Coverage of Religiously Identifiable Groups, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, September 2010.