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HB 164 - Authorizes Religious Expression in Public Schools - Ohio Key Vote

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Legislation - Bill Passed (House) (61-31) - (Key vote)
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Title: Authorizes Religious Expression in Public Schools

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Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that authorizes religious expression in public schools.

Highlights:
  • Repeals previous law which states the board of education is authorized to limit the exercise or expression of religious beliefs to lunch periods or other non-instructional time periods when pupils are free to associate (Sec. 1).

  • Authorizes a student enrolled in a public school to engage in religious expression before, during, and after school hours in the same manner and to the same extent that a student is permitted to engage in secular activities or expression before, during, and after school hours (Sec. 1).

  • Requires a school district, community school, or a college-preparatory boarding school to give the same access to school facilities to students engaging in religious expression as is given to secular student organizations, without regard to the content of a student’s or group’s expression (Sec.1.).

  • Prohibits a school district board of education, the governing authority of a community school, the governing body of a STEM school, or  the board of trustees of a college-preparatory boarding school from prohibiting a student from engaging in religious expression for the completion of homework, artwork, or other written or oral assignments (Sec. 1).

  • Requires assignment grades and scores to be calculated using ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance, including any legitimate pedagogical concerns, and can not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work (Sec. 1).

  • Defines “religious expression” as the following (Sec. 1):

    • Prayer;

    • Religious gatherings, including but not limited to prayer groups, religious clubs, “see you at the pole” gatherings, or other religious gatherings;

    • Distribution of written materials or literature of a religious nature; and

    • Any other activity of a religious nature, including wearing symbolic clothing or expression of a religious viewpoint, provided that the activity is not obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent. 


Legislation - Introduced (House) -

Title: Authorizes Religious Expression in Public Schools

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