House passes bill preventing religious discrimination in schools

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 | 5:19 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The House passed a bill preventing discrimination based on a student’s religious beliefs in schools by a margin of 131-16 on Tuesday.

Rep. Bob Burns, D-St. Louis, said in his experience as an educator that this bill is unnecessary because there are already protections from the U.S. Constitution.

"I agree with what you’re trying to say with the bill," Burns said. "You’re trying to protect our school, and protect our religious freedoms and freedom of speech, but I believe those are already protected."

He said it is the teachers who are in the wrong if there is discrimination and not the school policies, and the students can appeal a teacher's decision.

In response to the arguments that this bill is superfluous, Rep. Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee’s Summit, said his children have experienced religious discrimination in school.

"I’ve had children of mine censured on religious expression on oral and written presentation," he said. "I’ve had a daughter told some years back that she can’t even have a Bible in school."

Even though the bill did not specify any religion, the debate centered on Christianity. 

Supervising editor is Gary Castor.

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