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Religion in school could be hot topic in Utah Legislature
Religion in school » Senator says he wants believers’ rights protected; atheists, ACLU argue the proposal is divisive.

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Ellis said such emotional issues can turn into school health and safety problems.

"With our suicide rates increasing among younger students, we should be looking at ways to make all students feel safe and welcome, not looking at ways to sow seeds of division among our students."

At a glance

Another bill on freedom of religion

Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, is working on a bill he says will require schools to teach more about the First Amendment freedom of religion — which he asserts is often misunderstood.

“We see a lot of teaching about freedom of speech and the press,” Reid said, “but not on freedom of religion.”

Atheists of Utah President Dan Ellis said his group would need to see the final bill before taking a position but added he has no problem with the bill’s concept.

“If a school wants to teach students what their religious freedoms are, I’m all in favor of that. That is a secular ideal that they should have certain freedoms, the freedom of and from religion being one of them.”

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He called the proposal "a huge waste of time and money. I think Senator Weiler and other members of Utah’s Legislature would serve their respective constituencies much better by examining ways to improve secular education of our students, and leave it to their parents and spiritual leaders to tend to their religious education."

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