House Public Education hears bill to require display of Ten Commandments in public schools
Date Posted: 5/03/2023 | Author: Tricia Cave
The House Public Education Committee met Tuesday, May 2, 2023, to hear eight bills, including one that would require public schools to display the Ten Commandments in every classroom.
ATPE opposed Senate Bill (SB) 1515 by Sen. Phil King (R–Weatherford) with written testimony on the grounds that it could conflict with the personal religious freedom of staff members. The 2022-23 ATPE Legislative Program states: “ATPE opposes undue restrictions that would limit the ability of educators to express their political views." Already passed by the full Senate, SB 1515 would require that every classroom display a copy of the Ten Commandments, which could make educators and students of other faiths uncomfortable.
ATPE supported a pair of bills that would require parental notification if certain personnel are unavailable on their child’s campus. House Bill (HB) 1281 by Rep. Jolanda Jones (D–Houston) would require notification to parents if a nurse is not on campus during all instructional hours. HB 2694 by Rep. Venton Jones (D–Dallas) also requires parental notification if a nurse is not on campus, but this bill also requires notification when there is not a counselor and/or librarian. The 2022-23 ATPE Legislative Program states: “ATPE supports efforts to ensure schools have the resources and staffing necessary to give teachers adequate time for planning and fulfilling any other mandates of the job ...” Nurses, counselors, and librarians are essential members of a campus community and provide important supports to both staff and students, and parents should know when their children are not receiving these services.
ATPE also supported HB 2677 by Rep. DeWayne Burns (R–Cleburne), which addresses workplace bullying in school districts, including bullying or harassment from a parent to a staff member. Ensuring educator safety, including their mental safety, is one of ATPE’s 2023 legislative priorities. The bill would require district employment policies to include anti-bullying provisions that address both bullying in the workplace and bullying of a teacher by a parent.
See the rest of the bills on the agenda here.
The committee is up against a couple of deadlines next week. House bills must be reported out of committee by Monday, May 8. Additionally, the deadline for the House to pass House bills is Thursday, May 11. As of this writing, the committee is not expected to meet again before the deadline.
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