TOPEKA — On Wednesday, Feb. 13, Kansas Representative Renee Erickson (R-Wichita), along with over 25 cosponsors, including Rep. Tory Marie Arnberger (R-Great Bend), introduced HB 2288, “An act concerning school districts; relating to religious speech; creating the Kansas student and educator freedom of religious speech act.” The bill was then referred to the Committee on Education.
It is described as “a bill to clarify the religious freedom rights students and teachers are free to enjoy in Kansas public schools.”
The Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, part of the national group previously known as CitizenLink and Focus on the Family Action, praised the bill.
“With a career dedicated to education, Rep. Erickson knows well the challenges public school students and educators face — and that being forced to check their deep and sincere faith at the schoolhouse door should not be one of them.”
Supporters say HB 2288 clarifies in Kansas law the long-standing protections for religious freedom for public school students and teachers.
“HB 2288 ensures that Kansas students are free to organize religious groups and activities just as students may organize secular groups and activities. Students are free to express their faith in class assignments without punishment, express faith in speeches — and, of course, pray. Likewise, faculty are free to sponsor student groups that are faith-based, participate in student-led prayer, pray with other faculty, and express their faith in other ways.”
Brittany Jones, advocacy director for Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, issued the following statement on HB 2288:
“We all know that students and teachers have faith too. We are grateful to Representative Erickson for bringing this bill forward. HB 2288 reassures Kansas students of faith that they are welcome in public schools. And Kansas teachers tirelessly serving those students should never be forced to choose between their faith and their career.”
Kansas Family Alliance was previously known as CitizenLink and Focus on the Family Action.