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New Tennessee law will excuse students from school for religious instruction

NASHVILLE — A bill that received little attention this year, but was signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee will allow local school boards to adopt policies that excuses a student from school so they can attend a released time course in religious moral instruction.
The bill had been filed for introduction on the House floor in February; introduced as HB 2542 (SB 2473).
In December 2019, the Knox County Board of Education rejected a church time policy that would have allowed Knox County students to be excused for one hour every month.
The bill states the release time would be granted if the student’s parent or legal guardian requested. Transportation to and from the school would be the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Dennis Powers (R-Jackboro) and Sen, Ken Yager (R-Kingston) and would be required for all public schools, “regardless of whether the local board of education has adopted a policy.”
The bill will take effect during the 2020-21 school year.