Bill Description: House Bill 182 would reinforce the right of employees of public educational institutions, including school districts, charter schools, and colleges, to pray at times when they are free to engage in personal conduct. It would also prevent students from being punished or discriminated against for refusing to participate in such a prayer. House Bill 182 would give students or their parents, as well as employees of public educational institutions, the ability to sue to enforce these rights.
NOTE: The Senate amendment to House Bill 182 does not change our rating or analysis.
Does the bill create more transparency or accountability in public education institutions? (+) Conversely, does the bill reduce transparency and accountability in such institutions? (-)
House Bill 182 would permit “an employee of a public college, school district, or charter school [to] pray at any time he is otherwise free to engage in personal conversations or other personal conduct.” This right was upheld in the Supreme Court’s decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (2022). House Bill 182 would also say that students cannot be punished or discriminated against for refusing to participate in such a prayer.
If the rights of a student or an employee of a public educational institution are violated, they would be able to sue to enforce these rights. By creating this cause of action, House Bill 182 would hold public educational institutions accountable for respecting religious freedoms in the educational context.