Lawmakers' push for 'religious liberties' in schools sparks debate
Some Florida lawmakers who think public school children need the protection of a new “religious liberties” law are drawing fire from critics who say federal and state constitutions already guarantee such freedom.
The legislative proposals would ensure that students could express their religious views in class assignments, on their clothing or jewelry or by praying during the school day, for example.
The legislators say that would prevent incidents such as the one in Broward County in 2014 when a teacher told a 12-year-old boy he could not read the Bible during class reading time. The district superintendent later apologized to the child and his family for what he called an isolated incident.
Supporters of the bills (SB 436 and HB303 ) say such things happen too often because school officials are nervous about appearing to endorse religion.