OK House Approves Bill Focused On Religious Freedom In Schools - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

OK House Approves Bill Focused On Religious Freedom In Schools

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A bill called the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act, focuses on religious freedom in schools. A bill called the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act, focuses on religious freedom in schools.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A bill called the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act, focuses on religious freedom in schools. 

For example, students are assigned to write about their hero. One writes about Will Rogers, another writes about Jesus. The state wants to make sure the teacher grades both papers the same.

"They have to look at them fairly and grade them off the content vs what's actually behind it," said Representative John Bennett.

Fair grading and fair religious viewpoints in schools are the focal points to Representative John Bennett's House Bill 2422.

"We're trying to be proactive and not reactive," said Bennett.

Proactive for students and schools, in hopes for what Bennett calls clarity of the first amendment.

"They don't know what the law says, what the constitution means and what the courts have ruled," said Bennett.

The bill calls for religious equality in homework, group and club activities as well as public speeches from students. All actions that the ACLU feel don't need to be clarified.

"They come often from misconceptions," said the ACLU's Brady Henderson.

Originally authored in 1994 by a constitutional attorney in Texas, Oklahoma isn't the first to consider this Act.

The attorney is aware of Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois discussing the issue. Texas, Mississippi and Virginia are already making it law.

"How do you legislate common sense," asked former school teacher Richard Beevers. "My job as a teacher was to help them make good decisions and give them information."

And if passed through the senate could have some impact.

"Creating an opportunity to sensationalism that shouldn't be there," said Beevers.

Or no impact at all.

"In the end what does it do?" said Beevers. "Doesn't really change anything."

And once again the act has passed the House with an 88-0 vote and awaits a Senate Committee hearing in about two weeks.

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