Stated like the Professor.
This story about the effects of "Good News" clubs (via) in Public Elementary Schools really rang true to me. Not because it reflected personal experience -- my public educational experience was noteworthy for the degree of tolerance and ecumenicalism it evinced -- a quality which I associated with strong Church/State separation which in turn sparked my early zealotry on the subject. It was when I did research on the subject, and was exposed to locations where church and state could not be so easily disentangled, that I began to imagine what it would be like for me, as a Jew.* What view would I have had of school if I was told on the playground as a Kindergartener that I was doomed to Hell? If I was ostracized because my religion was wrong? If -- as far as I could tell -- the school itself was endorsing all of these views? I think it would be very hard to apply myself fully as a student. I think my education would have suffered immensely.
The article cites a Supreme Court case, Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 533 U.S. 98 (2001), as why many schools are so reticent to ban groups like this. The holding, as I understand it, was predicated off a blanket anti-religious group policy being a violation of the 1st Amendment. I wonder if a district instead made a more tailored finding that this group was sowing discord and having a negative impact on (certain?) students' ability to learn, whether it might be uphold even after Milford. It seems difficult to believe that schools would have to allow a "Bad News: Your Friends Are Inferior Hellbound Sinners Club" on campus. Yet, cheery name aside, that seems to be what the Good News Club does.
* One of the most illuminating pieces on this, for me anyway, was Frank Ravitch's "A Crack In The Wall: Pluralism, Prayer and Pain in the Public Schools," in Law and Religion: A Critical Anthology (Stephen Feldman ed., NYU Press 2000), pp. 296-314.