As students head back to school, Attorney General Todd Rokita is updating his so-called “Parents’ Bill of Rights” with a focus on religious expression in the classroom.
Rokita initially created the document two years ago to, in part, condemn teaching about race in schools. It was sharply criticized at the time as a political tool aimed at stirring division.
Rokita maintains it’s about helping inform Hoosier parents about their rights related to education. And his office has updated it multiple times since its creation, including sections about vaccinations and private school vouchers.
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The latest update answers questions about how religion and education intersect. In a Facebook Live event Tuesday, Rokita laid out what is allowed — such as students praying at school as long as it doesn’t interfere with instruction — and what’s not.
“What is prohibited in schools — public schools — is teacher or school official, as arms of the government, government-led practice of a particular religion,” Rokita said.
Rokita did note that teachers can pray in school privately, during non-instructional time.
The document, which is laid out in a frequently asked questions format, cites state law and U.S. Supreme Court precedents for how religious expression is treated in the school environment.