The Ohio House just passed a shockingly stupid law, sending it to the Senate on Wednesday.
The proposed law would prohibit public schools from penalizing students for incorrect school work if it is motivated by their religious beliefs.
HB164 is the measure, known as the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act of 2019. The bill's sponsor is Rep. Timothy Ginter, a Republican (surprising, I know).
ACLU of Ohio Chief Lobbyist Gary Daniels has criticized the proposed measure, saying that if a creationist student turned in biology homework that said the earth is 10,000 years old, the teacher would not be able to give them a lower grade.
Rep. Phillip Robinson, a Democrat from Solon, said that the bill is unnecessary and redundant. "We already religious freedom protected at the federal and state level," he said.
Amber Epling, a spokeswoman for Ohio House Democrats, pointed out that nonpartisan staff who analyzed the wording of the measure found that students "cannot be rewarded or penalized for the religious content in their assignments."
In response to all this criticism, Ginter has tried to defend his (idiotic) bill. "We live in a day when our young people are experiencing stress and danger and challenges we never experienced growing up," he said.
As for the criticism like that of Daniels and the example of the creationist in science class, Ginter said, "This doesn't give students a get-out-of-jail free card." He said that the homework would be "graded using ordinary academic standards of using substance and relevance."
If Ginter really believes that, then he is an even bigger idiot than I thought. That means he fails to grasp the scope of how the wording of the bill can be applied, and it means that Ginter's efforts truly are redundant, as Robinson pointed out.
This bill does nothing to protect the religious freedoms of students in any way that is not already covered by the Constitution. It would only create opportunities for religious parents and students to deny science in public schools and stymie the educational system in Ohio.
I sure do hope that the bill does not pass the Senate. Students in Ohio do not deserve this nonsense.