Bipartisan legislation that seeks to protect religious freedom for students has been sent to Gov. Eric Holcomb.
The bill by Indianapolis Democratic Rep. John Bartlett says traditional public and charter schools can not discriminate against students or parents because of their religious beliefs. It also asserts students’ right to wear religious clothing and express their beliefs in class writings.
Bartlett has said a lack of faith by teens and young adults has resulted in social ills such as drug use and killings.
If signed into law, the Department of Education and state attorney would be required to provide a “model policy” on these issues for schools to adopt.
It also suggests that schools should offer a world religion course.
But opponents, like Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington), say those who want more religious freedom in the classroom will sue over the law.
“You will have plenty of organizations that have raised money to come in and argue the law on the side of students who want more religious expression in school rather than less. And there will be no one funding the schools from the other side.”
A provision that would have allowed student’s equal time at school events to discuss their different faith beliefs was removed.
The bill passed the House 74-to-7 after a concurrence hearing.