TENNESSEE: Governor Gets Bill Allowing Students To Miss One Hour Of School Every Day To Attend Church

Hemant Mehta reports at The Friendly Atheist:

The Tennessee legislature passed a bill yesterday, House Bill 2542/Senate Bill 2473, that would force public schools to allow kids to miss class for up to one hour each day in order to attend church. (They would also allow school buses to transport those kids, as long as the churches paid for it.)

If the governor signs this bill into law, it would go into effect beginning this fall. And it will very likely become law since the State Senate passed it 31-0 on Friday, and the State House passed it 94-0 yesterday. No one wants in power wants to oppose this.

Knoxville’s CBS News affiliate reports:

In December 2019, the Knox County Board of Education rejected a church time policy that would have allowed Knox County students to be excused for one hour every month. If the bill becomes law, the legislation would reverse the Knox County Board of Education’s decision and will take effect during the 2020-2021 school year.

American Atheists react:

“Tennessee students cannot afford to miss so many hours of classroom time,” said Gayle Jordan, the Tennessee State Director for American Atheists, executive director of Recovering from Religion, and a two-time Democratic candidate for a State Senate seat, referencing Tennessee’s ranking of only 38 in U.S. News & World Report’s list of best and worst U.S. states for Pre-K–12 education. “Our lawmakers need to get their act together and figure out how to fix, not further weaken, our public education system. Otherwise, students will suffer.”

Ken Yager is the bill’s Senate sponsor.