Indiana House education committee backs school prayer bill

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Students’ right to pray aloud in Indiana schools would be reaffirmed under a measure a House education committee has approved.

Democratic state Rep. John Bartlett’s measure was approved Tuesday on a 10-2 vote. Bartlett has said his measure would give students an opportunity to pray in school, but not require them to do so.

Supporters say the bill would send a powerful signal about students’ First Amendment right to express their religious views. They say lawsuit-averse administrators are too quick to object to public affirmations of faith.

But bill opponents question the need for the measure and worry that the prayers could offend some students or make them feel left out.

The measure also encourages high schools to offer classes on religions of the world and affirms students’ right to wear religious clothing or jewelry.

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