Law would set aside date in September to pray for students, teachers
Published 12:15 am Saturday, April 18, 2015
A bill by two local lawmakers to mark a day of prayer for students and teachers has passed both houses of the Legislature and was sent to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature.
Rep. John Holsclaw of Elizabethton introduced the Day of Prayer bill in the House of Representatives, while Sen. Rusty Crowe of Johnson City introduced the companion bill in the Senate.
On April 13, the House voted 95-2 to approve the bill on third consideration. The two representatives who voted against it were Rep. G.A. Hardaway and Rep. Johnnie Turner, both Democrats representing portions of Shelby County.
On Friday, the Senate voted 33-0 to approve the bill on third consideration, then sent to Haslam for action.
If signed by Haslam, the bill would become law and designate the first Thursday of September each year as Tennessee’s Day of Prayer Over Students “on which the people of this state may, in accordance with their own faith and consciences, turn to prayer, meditation or otherwise give thanks for the students of this state as well as their teachers, administrators and schools.”
The bill was simply “the right thing to do,” Holsclaw said.
“We try to keep prayer in our schools for the students and teachers,” he said. “It is an important part of our culture and one that we need to remember.”
The bill is awaiting review by Haslam.
“I’ve had no indications he will not sign it,” Holsclaw said, adding that typically when a bill faces a possible veto, the legislators hear about it “through the grapevine.”
Keeping the students, teachers and school administrators in prayer is important because of the challenges they face, Holsclaw said. Students face things such as peer pressure to abuse drugs and alcohol, negative influences in the media, school violence, gang activities and low-self esteem, he added.
“The students of Tennessee are indeed our state’s single greatest resource, and in the coming years will assume leadership positions in this state and responsibility for the advancement of our society,” the bill said. “Tennesseans are encouraged to pray for protection, guidance and peace, and for opportunities and blessings on the students of Tennessee. It is appropriate that prayer be offered for our schools, teachers and administrators for wisdom and knowledge as they impart tot he students of our state the great lessons of life and morality and the education each student deserves.”