Tennessee bill aims to impose church release time on all school districts

Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 10:58 AM EDT
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Tennessee House officials are set to pass Tennessee's church release time bill (HB 2542/ SB 2473) on Monday.

The bill aims to force all public schools to excuse students from class for up to one hour each school day so they can attend outside religious instruction.

In December 2019, the Knox County Board of Education rejected a church time policy that would have allowed Knox County students to be excused for one hour every month.

The bill states the release time would be granted if the student's parent or legal guardian requested. Transportation to and from the school would be the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.

If the bill is passed, the legislation would reverse the Knox County Board of Education's decision.

The state's church release time bill expands on a 2015 law that allows local school boards the decision on whether or not they want to adopt a church release time policy.

If the legislation is passed it will take effect during the 2020-2021 school year.

In November, the Satanic Ministry

, calling it an attack on the separation of church and state.

The organization began a program of their own in response to the church release program saying that if children were allowed to leave school for Chrisitan bible studies, there must be an equal opportunity for children to study "the empathy, compassion, and kindness that the tenets [of the Satanic Temple] promote."

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