NASHVILLE, TN (WLAF) – A bill requiring schools to allow students to attend off campus instruction for religious moral instruction will become law after both chambers of the General Assembly approved the measure this week.

State Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro, and State Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, successfully guided House Bill 2542/Senate Bill 2473 through the legislature.  The bill requires public schools to excuse students from class for one hour a day of religious moral instruction. Participating students must have permission from a parent or legal guardian.

“This legislation empowers families and students to voluntarily participate in religious instruction and activities during the school day if they choose,” Powers said. “More and more families have hectic schedules that prevent worship and religious instruction after school. With this bill, we’re recognizing the constitutionally protected right of parents to direct the religious upbringing of their children.”

State law previously allowed local boards of education to create their own policy.  The new law now requires school districts to give families that option.  It stipulates that students may not be excused from a class the state requires state or federal testing on for accountability purposes.

Transportation to religious service is the responsibility of the student, parent or legal guardian.  House Bill heads to the governor’s desk for approval. It would be effective for the 2020-21 academic year.

To view House Bill 2542 go here.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 06/19/2020-2:30PM)