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Bible Study in Public High Schools? It Might be An Elective if New Bill Passes

The focus would be on Bible study. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
The focus would be on Bible study. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

A new bill in the Florida Legislature would require public high schools to offer religion classes as electives. The focus would be on Bible study.

The bill introduced by Representative Kim Daniels, a Jacksonville Democrat, would require high schools to offer elective courses in the New and Old Testaments. Rollins College Director of Teacher Education Scott Hewit says he’s worried the class will not be objective.

"I do feel pretty strongly that while high schools should be permitted to offer courses on comparative religions, I do not think it’s a good idea for any government body to require public schools to offer a course on the Bible."

He's also not sure where the course would fit in the curriculum or how teachers would get certified.

"We do not have a state approved program in that area of humanities, so we would not be in a position to train secondary school teachers to do that."

The American Civil Liberties Union says it will monitor the bill in order "to ensure one faith is not promoted over another in our public schools and to protect our student’s First Amendment rights."

Daniels did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If the bill passes, the state will join Kentucky, Texas, and Oklahoma who already offer Christian studies classes as electives in public high schools.
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Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.