State Watch

New Florida bill would require public schools to offer Bible courses

A proposed bill introduced in the Florida Legislature seeks to require public schools in the state to offer Bible courses as electives for high school students. 

Under the bill, each public school district in the state would be required to offer elective courses relating to religion, Hebrew Scriptures and the Bible to students in grades nine through 12. 

{mosads}The bill states that the courses must include “an objective study of religion” and an “objective study of the Bible, including, but not limited to, a course on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament of the Bible; a course on the New Testament of the Bible; and a course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, and the New Testament of the Bible.”

“A student may not be required to use a specific translation of the Hebrew Scriptures or Bible as the sole text for the course,” the bill also states. 

Under the bill, the state’s Department of Education would also be required to add the courses to the Course Code Directory.

The bill states that school districts must “follow all state and federal laws and guidelines in maintaining religious neutrality and accommodating the diverse religious views, traditions, and perspectives of all students in the school.” 

“A course offered pursuant to this section may not endorse, favor, or promote or disfavor or show hostility toward a particular religion, religious perspective, or nonreligious faith,” it adds. 

The bill was filed by Democratic state Rep. Kimberly Daniels last week. If passed, the measure would take effect in July 2020.

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