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Religious freedoms at heart of school prayer bill

State legislation that would affirm students’ religious rights in schools could be enacted as soon as next school year, but local superintendents question its value and don’t think it will change much if passed.

House Bill 1024 provides that public schools must make room for religious expression in school assignments, and that schools must allow students to pray before, during and after classes are dismissed. The bill also states that students must be able to wear clothing that displays religious messages and creates a “limited public forum” for religious viewpoints at school events.

“The legislation is not needed,” Southeast Dubois Superintendent Rick Allen said in an email. “They seem to try and fix a problem that does not exist.”