State Capitol News
3:52 pm
Sat July 11, 2009

Lawmakers ban religious discrimination in schools

Phoenix, AZ – State law will soon spell out that schools cannot discriminate
against students based on their religious views.

Various federal laws and court rulings require schools to adopt a
content neutral approach to religion. But Cathi Herrod of the
Center for Arizona Policy said that hasn't always been the case.
A Highly High School student had his yearbook bio edited to
remove a reference to God. And a Deer Valley school prevented
students from using the P-A system to invite students to an
after-school prayer meeting while other clubs had no
restrictions. The measure signed Friday by Gov. Jan Brewer says
all regulations must be enforced without regard to religious
content. Tricker is a ban on academically penalizing a student
for a religious belief. Herrod said that won't stop a teacher
from failing a student who, asked to explain the theory of
evolution, refuses by saying he or she just doesn't believe it's
true.

(But if there's an assignment do an essay on the different
theories of the origins of the universe, and they do evolution
and creation and whatever the other theories are, then they can't
be graded down because of that. It just depends on how the
teacher structures the assignment.)

The requirement for content-neutral rules also means students can
not be barred from wearing jewelry or T-shirts with religious
symbols or sayings unless the school forbids all such items with
any message.