At the Secular Student Alliance we want to work with educators to help provide a safe and welcoming environment for nontheistic students. Helping faculty and administrators to protect the rights of the atheist and agnostic students in their systems is an enormous part of what we do. To that end we have produced a host of helpful tips and literature that we are happy to provide at no cost.
Resources for Starting & Supporting Student Groups
The Secular Student Alliance is happy to assist students in forming a nontheist group at your school. This can serve as a community for students who feel they must hide this aspect of their identity in other social settings, and provides a "safe haven" for students who may face harassment or social difficulties due to their beliefs. Students can search for groups already active in their area or Request a Starting Packet. In addition to other resources, our Group Services section has a digital copy of the Group Running Guide which details all sorts of topics that affect student groups. Many student groups all around you have already gotten started, so you'll likely have neighbors to interact with during this process.
We also have a brochure for educators available. To request our printed, full-color brochure "Nontheistic Students in Your School" for your school, click here. If you'd like to just print them yourselves, you can download our brochure as a printable, black-and-white PDF document by clicking here. You can also download a full-color version here.
Many administrators are aware of nontheistic students and want to accommodate their needs, but aren't sure where to start. A list of recommendations and further resources are available at our page Accommodating Secular Students.
Starting in 2011, a tremendous amount of attention has been paid one of the biggest challenges facing high school students who are attempting to organize: obstruction from administrators. This has been noted by several outlets from the Southern Poverty Law Center to USA Today, and the conclusion is always the same: the law is on our side!
The SSA has several experts on its Advisory Board, including former high school activists, high school educators and attorneys, all of whom have experience with regard to the legal problems that can arise when secular students attempt to form school groups. They have agreed to lend their time and expertise with these matters. If you need help at your school, contact us for help.
If you suspect that your school is in violation of the separation of church and state, or if they are stonewalling your group from forming, or that your school is in some other way in violation of the law, we have set up a page full of tips on how to proceed. We also have a form you can use to apprise us of the situation so we can get involved and try to get it fixed.
SSA Directory of Secular Organizations
For more information on secularism and various secular organizations, browse our directory. This list provides the names of our partner organizations as well as descriptions and links to their respective websites.
More Educator Resources
Teaching Tolerance: Respecting Nonreligious People
Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children. The organization provides free educational materials, including this teaching kit on respecting nonreligious people. Grades 3-5,6-8, and 9-12; subject areas Reading and Language Arts, Social Studies and ESL/ELL.
Atheist Students on Campus: From Misconceptions to Inclusion
This article by Kathleen M. Goodman and John A. Mueller describes the need for awareness of atheist students in college contexts and is quoted in our brochure. Though aimed at college student life departments, the content of this article can be equally applied to high school educators.
Celebrity Atheist List
"An offbeat collection of notable individuals who have been public about their lack of belief in deities." This site lists historical and contemporary atheists, agnostics, and skeptics - some of whom you may be teaching about in your classroom.
The Secular Web Parents Corner
A compendium for nontheistic parents that has many resources, including an "Education" section in their list of helpful Essays.
Parenting Beyond Belief
This site provides excerpts from and links to purchase two books edited by Dale McGowan on raising ethical, caring kids without religion. The resource section is full of helpful books and DVDs, including several listed under "Living and Teaching Ethics." The Parenting Beyond Belief Channel on YouTube can be found here.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
This is a politically active organization that can provide much-needed assistance in reporting and resolving local church-state violations. In their "Issues" section they have bountiful information about Religion in Public Schools and Religious School Vouchers.
This site, created by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, provides information on a plethora of religions and (non)belief systems. A good resource to further understanding of diverse populations - in and out of the classroom.