BOSTON (WWLP) - A new bill proposes to give students the legal right to talk about religion at school events, clubs, graduation ceremonies, and class assignments.
Parents testifying before the state Legislature's education committee said they want their kids to be able to express religious beliefs in the same way others talk about secular ideas. They said students are often discriminated for their religious views in frivolous ways. For example, in 2003, Westfield High School students in a Christian club were suspended for handing out candy canes with religious messages attached to them.
"There are innumerable instances of school districts nationwide that have erroneously forbidden even the voluntary mention of god by a student in a homework assignment of graduation speech," Policy Director of the Mass Family Institute Maureen Vacca said.
"It doesn't address the fact that the Supreme Court had already said that you cannot give a religious speech at a graduation exercise," Ronal Madnick said.
Opponents of the bill say the law in unnecessary because the courts have ruled that students can hand out candy canes, lead student prayer and talk about religion on their own time.
They believe this bill only serves to promote religion in the classroom.