States map 2015 for blog

Written by Don Byrd

Following up on state legislation I posted about earlier, the Indiana House has passed House Bill 1024, which states that school officials cannot take action against students or their parents for student religious expression and exercising during the school day as long as it is not disruptive to the school’s instructional mission. Supporters maintain the measure will add protection for students, while opponents point out that the law already offers such protections.

In the Indianapolis Star report on the bill, a Representative explains well the potential problem:

Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, opposed the bill, saying it could result in entanglement between government and religion.

“You can already pray in school,” DeLaney said. “… But what we’re trying to do is fool with that, adjust that, make it a little stronger. And we’ll end up in the courts.”

In a column written last year, recently retired Baptist Joint Committee Executive Director Brent Walker discussed the many avenues for religious expression the law already protects, including prayer during school, forming religious clubs, including religious themes in school assignments if germane, and many others. 

Similar bills are currently being considered in Kentucky and Florida.

For more, see the BJC’s resource page on Religion and Public Schools.