BREAKING: New Legislation Clarifying Religious Freedom for Students & Teachers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2019
TOPEKA—Today, Kansas Representative Renee Erickson (R, district 87), along with over 25 cosponsors, introduced H.B. 2288, a bill to clarify the religious freedom rights students and teachers are free to enjoy in Kansas public schools.
Representative Erickson is a native Kansan who comes to the Legislature with a wealth of experience in public education. She graduated from Newton High School, where she was also elected to the “Newton Hall of Fame” in 2005. Representative Erickson holds two bachelor’s degrees, as well as two master’s degrees. In her professional career, she served as a high school teacher, middle school principal, educator for Parents as Teachers, data and assessment coordinator at North High, director of the USD 259 instructional technology center, director of three adult learning centers, and school board member.
With a career dedicated to education, Representative Erickson knows well the challenges public school students and educators face—and that being forced to check their deep and sincere faith at the schoolhouse door should not be one of them.
H.B. 2288 clarifies in Kansas law the longstanding protections for religious freedom for public school students and teachers. H.B. 2288 ensures that Kansas students are free to organize religious groups and activities just as students may organize secular groups and activities. Students are free to express their faith in class assignments without punishment, express faith in speeches—and, of course, pray. Likewise, faculty are free to sponsor student groups that are faith-based, participate in student-led prayer, pray with other faculty, and express their faith in other ways.
A statement from Brittany Jones, Esq., Advocacy Director for Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, on H.B. 2288:
“We all know that students and teachers have faith too. We are grateful to Representative Erickson for bringing this bill forward. H.B. 2288 reassures Kansas students of faith that they are welcome in public schools. And Kansas teachers tirelessly serving those students should never be forced to choose between their faith and their career.”
H.B. 2288 prevents anti-religion special interest groups, particularly the Wisconsin-based atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation, from writing policy for Kansas schools that creates an environment hostile toward Kansas students and teachers of faith.
Family Policy Alliance of Kansas will advocate for H.B. 2288 in the Kansas legislature this year.
For questions or to schedule an interview with Brittany Jones, please contact: Media@FamilyPolicyAlliance.com