Kentucky Passes ‘Drool in School’ Law

You remember what we wrote six weeks ago in Kentucky Creationism Bill for 2017. The Kentucky Senate had approved Senate Bill 17. Among other things, it would allow students to:

Express religious or political viewpoints in classroom, homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination or penalty based on the religious or political content of the submissions.

We remarked:

Isn’t that great? The kiddies can fill their homework with all the neat science they learned at Hambo’s Creation Museum.

As some of you expected, the state of Kentucky has passed that thing into law. At the website of WTVQ, the ABC-affiliated television station in Lexington, Kentucky, we read: Gov. Bevin signs SB 17, protecting religious expression in public schools.

The headline says it all. To be certain, we checked the state legislature’s link to follow the status and history of Senate Bill 17. We already knew it had been passed by the state Senate. No doubt about it — the legislature’s website informs us that the bill was passed the state House by a 81-8 vote, and then signed by the Governor on 16 March.

The TV station doesn’t say much else. This is the rest of their story:

The bill prevents school officials from regulating student organizations, including the selection of members and “doctrines and principles.”

It does a lot more than that. Among other things, it allows students to:

Access public secondary school facilities during noninstructional time as a member of a religious student organization for activities that may include prayer, Bible reading, or other worship exercises to the same extent that members of nonreligious student organizations are permitted access during noninstructional time …

Here’s the TV station’s final sentence:

LGBT advocates say the bill could give student groups a license to discriminate.

We hadn’t considered that aspect of the bill. Anyway, with Florida considering similar legislation — see Florida Bills Allow Religion in Public Schools — bills like this could become a trend.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “Kentucky Passes ‘Drool in School’ Law

  1. is the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter considered a “public secondary school facility”?

    So, does this mean that if they answer with a (wrong) religious viewpoint, they can’t be scored wrong? FFS. It’s like they want to go back to the dark ages.

  2. No Kosh, this is Ken-Tuck they want to STAY in the dark ages!!!

  3. Dave Luckett

    This law will remain active until a person with standing brings suit in Federal court with the plea that another student received a higher grade for an assignment because he expressed religious sentiments approved by the teacher. It will then be struck down with costs against the defendant.

  4. Michael Fugate

    Does anyone believe that this will apply to minority religious beliefs? Will teachers, principals, and school boards respect the beliefs of non-Christians?
    Why not the Koran as literature? or the Vedas? Dianetics? the book of Mormon? This could be fun.

  5. What about someone quoting the “Apocrypha” as part of the Bible, as a Catholic or Orthodox is apt to do?

  6. In general, students have all those rights already… except for the use any part of the facility for prayer. The TEACHERS cannot, however do those things.

    Court precedent is quite clear, student groups can be as religious as they want, the teacher sponsor cannot promote or be actively involved however.

    What will be interesting is what will happen when a Muslim or Satanist group tries it. Oh the lawsuits that will come from that. I can’t wait.

  7. @OgreMkV: True, teachers are not allowed to lead a prayer. But it seems this law would allow students to lead prayers, as expressions of their religious beliefs.

    You can bet there will be a Bible-totin’, Hellfire-breathin’, young Jimmy Swaggert wannabe standing up in front of the class going into a full-throttle fundamentalist tirade, and when the teacher asks the student to take his (or her) seat, the teacher, the principal, the school board and the entire school district will by slapped with a megamillion dollar lawsuit.

    I’m glad I’m retired. Although I never taught in Kentucky, this religious freedom kick is sure to spread. And both the state I taught in and the state I now live in are just across the river.

  8. I’ve got nothing against religious freedom. But what fundamentalists of every religion mean by it (those who bother to use the term at all, that is) is the freedom to believe as they do, period.

  9. Dave Luckett

    I speak under correction, but I believe the Constitutional position is that anyone lawfully on premises may make any religious observance that they please in a public school, provided that it does not affect the proper conduct of the school in any way, but that they may not promote or establish a religion by inviting or leading others in the same.

    Teachers may pray – indeed, I knew teachers who absolutely required it to get them through the day – but may not require, expect, invite or encourage students to join them or say their own, nor by word, deed, example or implication, to sanction or threaten to sanction students who do not. Students who do not cannot be set apart, or criticized, or pointed out or shamed. Their religious observance, or lack of it, cannot be commented on in any way. No religious observance, sentiment, principle or precept expressed by any student in their work can have any effect whatsoever on the value – the grade – awarded. Neither can any denial of the same.

    If this act of a State Legislature were intended to change any aspect of that position, it is unconstitutional. If not, it is redundant.