OPPOSE SB 344 Ban Faith-Based Schools from School Choice Participation

 

Bill Status:

  • Awaiting a committee hearing

 

Bill History:

  • 1/08/2019 Authored by Sen. J.D. Ford and referred to Education & Career Development Committee

 

Executive Summary

SB 344 provides that a choice scholarship school (eligible school) may not discriminate against a staff member based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Provides that if the department of education determines that the eligible school discriminates against a staff member of the school, the department shall send a notice to the eligible school indicating that the eligible school will not be considered an eligible school beginning in the school year immediately following the current school year. Provides that the eligible school has 30 days from the date of the notice to demonstrate to the department that the eligible school does not discriminate against staff members. Provides that an eligible school that does not comply within that time will not be considered an eligible school beginning in the school year immediately following the current school year. Provides that an eligible school may not discriminate against a student on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

 

Analysis

SB 344 seeks to ban faith-based schools from school choice participation.  SB 344 seeks to label those citizens who believe in a biblical definition of marriage and biblical boundaries for sexual activity as bigots who are guilty of discrimination.  Most of those faith based schools who participate in the choice scholarship would become ineligble because they hold their staff and students to the guidelines the Bible lays out for human sexuality...only within the marriage of one man and one woman.  This bill would disqualify 90% of school choice recipient schools because of their Biblical faith traditions. 

 

Conclusion

SB 344 would ban faith-based schools from school choice participation. This bill would disqualify 90% of school choice recipients because of their faith traditions. A faith-based school’s belief in the Biblical definition of marriage should never disqualify them from helping vulnerable children in Indiana. The state should never legislate anti-faith bigotry, but that is exactly what this bill intends to do.

IFI opposes SB 344.