Ohio House OKs bill allowing student religious expression

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio proposal that would broaden protections for students’ religious expression in schools has passed the House.

Among other provisions, House Bill 425 would let students express their religious viewpoints more freely in homework or in the classroom.

It cleared the House Wednesday on a 72-22 vote. It next goes to the Senate.

Ohio law already bars school boards from adopting policies or rules prohibiting students from exercising or expressing their religious beliefs. But this bill would scrap a piece of the law that lets districts limit such expression to the lunch period or other non-instructional time.

Republican Rep. Bill Hayes says his proposal aims to make clear what is permitted in schools.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio opposes the measure. The Catholic Conference of Ohio supports it.

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