“No student should have to hide their faith just because they enter a public school. The Student Religious Liberties Act is carefully crafted to ensure school administrators do not unfairly penalize students of all faiths, or even students of no faith.” -Gov. Mike DeWine
News Staff : Jun 24, 2020 Frontlines Ohio
(Columbus, OH) — [FrontlinesOhio.com] Despite efforts by the ACLU, a student religious freedom measure has crossed the finish line. (Image: Courtesy of CCV)
[Last week] Governor Mike DeWine signed the Student Religious Liberties Act, HB 164. Sponsored by Rep. Tim Ginter (R-Salem), the bill protects freedom of religious expression and students’ right to pray in public schools.
Rep. Ginter pointed out the bill was necessary. “We were seeing increased pressure on our schools from groups biased against Ohio students’ religious freedoms. Many school officials are confused, and frankly intimidated by the threat of litigation from these well-funded groups.”
During committee hearings for the bill, students testified that their high school clubs were being treated differently from secular groups, such as not being included in the school yearbook and not being given the same access to facilities for meetings.
The new law clarifies that students can pray, wear religious clothing, meet on school grounds, and express their faith in school, so long as their expressions are not disruptive. The law will also abolish any restrictions on students from engaging in religious expression in completion of homework, artwork or other assignments.
“No student should have to hide their faith just because they enter a public school. The Student Religious Liberties Act is carefully crafted to ensure school administrators do not unfairly penalize students of all faiths, or even students of no faith.”
“The ACLU and atheist organizations may have tried to stop this bill to prevent Christian, Jewish, Muslim and non-religious students from having fundamental protections, Ohio lawmakers stood up for the First Amendment and sent a clear message that the Buckeye State respects the diversity of viewpoints.
“It should not be controversial to stand for religious freedom. That is why we are grateful to Governor Mike DeWine for signing this bill, and to Senate President Larry Obhof and Speaker Larry Householder for giving this essential legislation fair consideration.”
The CCV policy team joined Senate President Larry Obhof as he signed the bill to transmit it to Governor DeWine.
Rep. Ginter got an “A” for effort in the latest legislation.
Mr. Baer added, “Like many pieces of legislation, it takes a great amount of perseverance to get the job done. Rep. Tim Ginter, the bill’s sponsor, has faithfully pressed this legislation forward for the last three General Assemblies. Through roadblocks and attacks, Rep. Ginter was a steady hand to get this legislation done. Ohio families and students of faith are better protected today because of his steady hand!”
The victory for religious conservatives in Ohio comes off the heels of the Heartbeat Bill which passed last year.
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