A bill that would have allowed teachers to join students in prayer during school hours was gutted by the House after concerns were raised that it violated religious civil rights. The bill would have allowed the joint prayer to occur if all students present had a signed consent form from their parents.
Shreveport Rep. Alan Seabaugh says the old bill would have targeted religious minorities.
“Let’s say you have 15 kids on a soccer team.
14 kids want the coach to lead them in prayer, one kid who’s an atheist, a muslim,
or somebody who doesn’t. He is going to bullied, he’s going to be coerced into
signing the consent form”.
proposed the amendment that radically altered the legislation, which now
permits teachers to bow their head when students pray.
Shreveport Republican says the old version of the bill was obviously
unconstitutional, and would have led to successful challenges by organizations
like the ACLU.
“When they win your school district then has
to pay their legal fees and costs, which is hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And there is no doubt that they will win”.
Representative Robert Shadoin, who sponsored the bill in the House, fiercely
contested the amendment that altered the original bill, arguing that
establishment clause that protects against state sponsored religious activity
could be waived in this case.
“Who says you can’t wave constitutional
rights? We do it all the time with the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendment, all
the time. So if you want to give parents the control of their children, defeat
heads back to the senate