Bill on student religious freedom clears Indiana Senate

The Indiana Senate has approved a bill on religious freedom in public and charter schools that originally included a contentious school prayer provision.

A Senate panel amended the bill last week to remove a section that would have required school districts to adopt policies creating a “limited public forum” for prayer at school activities such as assemblies and sporting events.

As written now, the bill by Democratic Rep. John Bartlett of Indianapolis says schools may not discriminate based on religion. It also codifies existing religious rights, including those allowing religious clothing or jewelry and prayer before, during or after school.

A proposed amendment to include private schools that accept state money in the measure was rejected in the Senate panel.

The Senate voted 44-5 in favor of the bill Thursday.

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