A new bill, if passed, would require all public schools in Florida to offer classes in religion.
Filed by Democrat Rep. Kim Daniels on October 11, House Bill 341 would require all Florida school districts to include a Bible class in the curricula, reports digital channel WTHR.
[House Bill 341] protects constitutional rights of students to be free from impermissible religious instruction by requiring an objective study of the Bible that does not convert or evangelize students. —Rep. Kim Daniels (D)
Current state laws allow Florida schools to offer religion classes as electives, but the proposed bill would make it mandatory. House Bill 341 is going to require schools to offer courses related to “religion, Hebrew scriptures and the Bible to certain students as elective courses.”
The courses on religion would include the Old and New Testaments, and Hebrew Scriptures. The classes will be offered to high school students from Grades 9 to 12.
According to Global News, the Florida House of Representatives said the bill is “an act relating to the study of the Bible and religion… requiring each school district to offer specified courses relating to religion, Hebrew Scriptures, and the Bible to certain students as elective courses; requiring such courses be included in the Course Code Directory.”
High school students are divided in their opinions about making religion classes mandatory. One student claimed that the bill “could be a violation of students’ rights” by forcing them to carry and study the Bible at school. Another student supports the bill, saying it opens up the minds of students.
Rep. Daniels said the bill will not in any way violate students’ rights. She pointed out that the bill would require “an objective study of the Bible that does not convert or evangelize students.”
If passed, House Bill 341 would go into effect July 1, 2020.