New state law allows students to be excused for religious classes


Students could earn elective credit for religious classes offered away from school property, under legislation recently approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. John Kasich.

HB 171 would not excuse students from math, language, social studies, science and other coursework required for graduation. Rather, the new state law enables school boards to allow up to two elective credits for religious instruction.

The latter classes are offered off of school property, and students are released to attend with permission from their parents, provided attendance records are kept, transportation is provided, no public funds are used and affected students assume responsibility for any missed school assignments, among other requirements.

“I look forward to the added opportunities for our students to improve their lives, and this gives us yet another tool to help change society for the better,” Rep. Jeff McClain, a primary co-sponsor of the bipartisan legislation, said in a released statement.

Rep. Bill Patmon, Democrat from Cleveland,, the other primary co-sponsor, added during floor deliberations in the House, “This will be something that I believe will do some good for us out in the districts for some people who have never had an exposure to any kind of religion....”

Still, several Democrats who voted against the bill voiced concern.

Read the complete story in Sunday's Vindicator or on

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