HB 1024: Student Religious Freedom in Schools

Executive Summary

HB 1024 provides that a school corporation or charter school shall not discriminate against a student or a student's parent on the basis of a religious viewpoint or religious expression.  Provides that students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Provides that public school students may pray or engage in religious activities or religious expression before, during, and after the school day in the same manner and to the same extent that students may engage in nonreligious activities or expression. Provides that students in public schools may wear clothing, accessories, and jewelry that display religious messages or religious symbols in the same manner and to the same extent that other types of clothing, accessories, and jewelry that display messages or symbols are permitted.

 

Analysis

HB 1024 would prevent government from discriminating against students within government run schools because of the student’s faith.  It would protect students from religious discrimination against them in homework, artwork, written and oral assignments, in the clothing they wear to school as well as accessories, jewelry and other items that reflect a religious message or symbolism.  It would protect students from discrimination when they are praying or engaging in religious activities before, during and after school.

HB 1024 protects the religious freedom of students in a myriad of ways.  With the increased hostility towards people of faith generally and the growing number of students who have been discriminated against particularly (Carmel High School’s discrimination against student members of the Pro-Life Club there is but one recent example), HB 1024 is a very timely public acknowledgement of the importance of government tolerance towards people of faith. 

 

Conclusion

HB 1024 protects the 1st Amendment Rights of students and helps assure that our tax dollars are going to schools that are tolerant of students’ free exercise of religion guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.    

IFI supports HB 1024.