Gov. Kevin Stitt Signs Bill Clarifying Religious Guidelines For Oklahoma School Boards

Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a bill into law that lays out guidelines for school boards when it comes to letting students leave school for religious or moral purposes.

Thursday, June 6th 2024, 6:14 pm



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Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a bill into law that lays out guidelines for school boards when it comes to letting students leave school for religious or moral purposes.

One of the authors of House Bill 1425 says while the idea is nothing new, the law was needed. 

Parents in Oklahoma have been allowed to take their kids out of school for religious reasons for the last 10 years.

This new law explains how it will work and lawmakers hope it will protect schools and parents rights.

Representative Clay Staires says The Oklahoma Parents Bill of Rights has allowed parents to take their kids out of school for religious education since 2014. But schools and parents never had guidelines to follow.

"There have been some schools and some teachers that have attempted to implement it and they've done it wrong, and therefore they've been sued," said Rep. Clay Staires, (R) District 66.

Rep. Staires referenced a lawsuit against a lawsuit against Maryetta Schools in Adair County last year where employees tried to implement religion in schools.

This new law makes it clear what is allowed, and Rep. Staires says that aligns with the U.S. Constitution.

"Rules the Supreme Court put into place were things like you have to have parental permission to do it, it can't take place on school grounds, you can't use any school resources whether it be teachers or equipment or money," said Rep. Staires.

The new law says students can't miss core classes for a religious course and caps the amount of time a student can miss school at three classes a week or a maximum of 125 classes a year. But that is up to each school board. For example, a board could decide one class is the max a student can miss.

"There may be some courses that are very robust that need a certain amount of time they need more than just one hour a week so we wanted to make sure we wanted to make sure we allowed for that," Rep. Staires said.

The law also allows school boards to approve some religious courses as elective credit.

Each specific school board has to approve which religious classes students are allowed to be excused for.

This law goes into effect on Nov. 1st.

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