I think it would be pretty interesting if my school had a comparative religion course so I could learn a bit more about many religions but it would have to be taught in a way that made each sound equally plausible or implausible without any skew towards a single religion, this would be an elective course. But I find it unlikely that a school in an area with strong religious beliefs could find a way to teach this without leaning too heavily on the most practiced religion in the area so I'm not sure this would work. I am for religious freedom so if the students want to pray or do other religious things, fine, but teachers have no place telling them if their God is right or wrong. Religion shouldn't be something you are required to practice and people are free to form their own beliefs. There are too many differences within a society for a course emphasizing the existence of any God to be non offensive.
There would be a bit of a rights problem if it was outright banned. But it certainly should be removed from a school curriculum. Religion is an ideal, which differs from person to person and therefore, teaching a religion course is always gonna appose someone, and at that age, the aim of the game is creating a sense of comfort and inclusion so they can learn better.
Solution? Don't teach it in school! Most people think that disregards their rights but it doesn't. In most states, the right to religion is free practice, not forcing your beliefs on others. Instead of religion, you have another subject, discussing moral issues, modern political ideals, religious ideals (covering all ideals equally) and society. This ensures that students have an open mind and appreciate all ideals as ideals. Current systems alienate and teach sectarianism.
And to TrasguTraviseo: Religious Education is an optional subject in Ireland. It may have a heavy catholic influence but most of the course is about moral understanding, religious understanding and philosophical concepts at both junior and Leaving level. Also rule 68 is part of the 1965 rules and recently, the minister for education has called for abolition of this rule. Many Irish schools try to hold a system of inclusion for all, so that quote you copy-pasted means nothing really.
First off, the words 'separation of church and state' are a myth. It is nowhere in the First Amendment, let alone the Constitution. It comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson (to whom I can't remember), addressing that the church will not rule the nation as in Medieval Europe.
Religion is a Constitutional right. The First Amendment says :
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Note the "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." This means that no law establishing a religion can be enacted, which allowing religion in schools does not violate as it will not be a law. The "free exercise thereof" is what I am focusing on. This clause, or the Free Exercise Clause, will be violated by banning religion in schools. So what if it is a public place? You can exercise religion anywhere you because of the Free Exercise Clause, and ANY violation of this clause (or the Establishment Clause) is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, or in other words, TOTALLY ILLEGAL BY OUR CONSTITUTION.
Religion is so much a part of everyone's culture that ignoring it is foolish and does a disservice to those being educated. Let me emphasize that ALL religions should be taught and compared and contrasted to students can get a complete picture of how the world thinks, worships, and feels.
Religion should be taught, but not to persuade children to join the religion the school is teaching. At my school (In the UK, so, christian based) the vast majority of the students don't believe in any religion, but most of the teachers do, but the teachers have still rightly decided to teach students about a large range of religions, creating, instead of a religious preference, a religious acceptance, so, while we may mostly be atheists, we will not have a preference of people depending on their religion.
Rule 68 for National Schools:
"Of all the parts of a school curriculum Religious Instruction is by far the most important, as its subject-matter, God's honour and service, includes the proper use of all man's faculties and affords the most powerful inducements to their proper use. Religious Instruction is, therefore, a fundamental part of the school course, and a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school. The teacher should constantly inculcate the practice of charity, justice, truth, parity, patience, temperance, obedience to lawful authority, and all the other moral virtues. In this way he will fulfil the primary duty of an educator, the moulding to perfect form of his pupils' character, habituating them to observe, in their relations with God and with their neighbour, the laws which God, both directly through the dictates of natural reason and through Revelation, and indirectly through the ordinance of lawful authority, imposes on mankind."