One of the bills awaiting action by Governor Nixon is the Student Religious Liberties Act. But it’s written to protect those without religion, too.
The bill says schools cannot discriminate against students on the basis of religious expression or viewpoint, however expressed—whether in art, writing, speech, or in clothing, jewelry and accessories. It does not require anyone to take part in any religious activities.
It requires school districts to write policies that provide for what’s called a “limited public forum” speech at any event where a student is to speak in public–graduation and baccalaureate events, for example. It says students can pray or take part in religious activities before, during, and after school hours.
Supporters say the bill also protects non-believers as well by allowing clothing, jewelry, or accessories that promote Satanism or witchcraft, as long as the items are not indecent.
But sponsor Ryan Silvey of North Kansas City says the decency line is up to the school district to define. The bill also requires districts to say any student expression does not reflect an endorsement of the student’s position.AUDIO: Final debate 13:57