Protecting religion

March 21, 2013

A measure requiring schools to allow and protect religious student expressions and to allow students to express religious beliefs in homework, art and other assignments was passed by the House of Representatives.

House Bill 1940, by state Rep. John Bennett, would require Oklahoma school districts to treat the voluntary student expressions of a religious viewpoint the same as voluntary student expressions of a secular viewpoint. The bill will also require school districts to adopt a “Model Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Policy.”

“An education process that incorporates religion and faith is both morally and intellectually superior to an education philosophy that prohibits expressions of faith and bullies students who are courageous enough to stand for their convictions,” said Rep. Bennett, R-Sallisaw. “This bill will help ensure that students of faith are treated equally to students who hold and express secular views.”

The bill will also require schools to provide the same access to school facilities for religious groups as it does for other student groups and to allow students to organize prayer groups.