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Service Trips For High School Students

Angel Said:

Baccalaureate Service at a public school: should it be on the official list of events?

We Answered:

You should stick to telling people the calendar lists only official school sponsored events. No, you should not include it on your listing.

You have stated that other non-school events are not being listed. Making an exception to avoid a headache is inviting legal challenge.

Unfortunately yes, you will probably hear about it if you are in a litigious and/or vocally conservative area. I understand this from personal experience.

That said, it is not a violation of the Equal Access Act or Supreme Court interpretations of constitutional precedent to advertise a private event in the same way the school would advertise any other event, provided the rules are applied equally. If the school is a Limited Public Forum under the Equal Access Act, it would actually be UNconstitutional to deny the organizers of the baccalaureate to advertise in the same ways other groups do.

However, were I in the position in which you find yourself, I would NOT include the event on the list, and would stick ardently to the statement you made: "The calendar is for OFFICIAL school sponsored events only." This would, in my professional estimation, stand harder on the line established by the EAA.

By removing anything not officially sponsored, including the baccalaureate, you are far closer to the current conventions of constitutional interpretation than if you included any. Why? The rule of thumb under the Equal Access Act is simple:

"You may admit none, but if you admit one, you must admit all."

The official "yes" and "no" rules of thumb as specifically pertain to Baccalaureate Services have not been addressed in district courts, circuit courts of appeals, or the Supreme Court. However, there are ample precedents regarding religiosity and prayer, and all of them point to fairly bright line tests that any aspect that intimates official school sponsorship should (and in many cases must) be avoided.

You think an annoyed parent is a headache? Try an ACLU lawsuit. I would not include the service on your list.

Francisco Said:

I'm interested in a volunteer service trip...?

We Answered:

Not specifically, but a very readable book called 'Chicken Soup for the Volunteers Soul' has a lot of references to where to sign up. Best wishes.

Violet Said:

Study abroad in high school?

We Answered:

Rotary is great, but I'm not sure that they offer scholarships. Another program I am familiar with is AFS, but, just as before, I'm not sure about the scholarship piece.

Good luck!

Elizabeth Said:

How can I raise money for a service trip abroad?

We Answered:

Getting a part-time job is good. Also, prayer can be helpful. God can help you live a better life if you want Him to. You can have a personal relationship with God by saying the prayer below. God is our Creator, all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal, holy, love. God loves us and sent us His Son, Jesus Christ, so we can go to heaven if we know and follow Him. Forever means without end -- time on and on without death. Forever is what happens after we die. Either we go to heaven and be with God forever, or we go to hell which is very bad and painful forever. The good people who are saved believers in Jesus Christ go to heaven. The bad people go to hell. We need to know and follow God in this world to get to heaven in the next world. We follow God by loving and obeying Him and loving others for Him. Jesus Christ, God's Son, is our bridge to God. Jesus died on the cross to cancel our sins. We need to accept Jesus into our life as our Lord and Savior forever to receive God's blessing and forgiveness plus go to heaven to be with God forever after we die. This is about being a born-again Christian. Faith in God is a gift from God. You can pray for faith in God. Just speak out and ask God for the faith to believe in Him and to follow Him. Some people find faith in God when they realize the beauty in the world is made by God. Evolution can't explain the world's natural beauty, for example, the parks in the world, animals, flowers, peacocks, sunsets, butterflies, rainbows, etc. After you have your faith on, you can pray a sinner's prayer to be a born-again Christian. This prayer is very important and should be said with a sincere heart and faith in God. This is the prayer: "Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and that Jesus Christ is the sacrifice for our sins. I have done the following sins (state these out) and I pray to discontinue these sins. I pray to receive Jesus Christ into my life as my Lord and Savior forever. In Jesus' name, amen." I'm Lutheran and I like the Baptist churches too. You could try out a Christian church and also see about their weekly Bible study group to learn about God's will for your life. You can pray to God about your daily life.

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