Bill Filed to Clarify Religious Expression

by ekramer on January 2, 2009

A Kentucky lawmaker has filed legislation intended to clarify the state law regarding freedom of expression in public schools. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Rep. Melvin Henley of Murray has filed a bill that specifically defines how and when pubic schools students may voluntarily express their viewpoints, including religious ones.

Henley says he decided to file the bill after being contacted by religious groups concerned that students wanting to express ideas about their faith were not on equal footing with those speaking on other topics.

“Some of the Christian people in the state feel that the law that’s on the books now regarding expression was easily misunderstood and I simply filed a bill to clarify what’s in the existing law,” he says.

Henley says it also would require local school boards to adopt policies about student expression of religious views.

“It’s supposed to be that all groups have equal rights of expression and sometimes it’s difficult, I think, for principals or superintendents to maybe interpret because of the language in the present law,” Henley says.

The bill is similar to a Texas law passed in 2007 called the Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act.  That law has sparked proposals for similar measures in other states.

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