In a diverse and pluralistic society like the United States, the role of religion in public education is a topic of ongoing debate. While the First Amendment is interpreted to ensure the separation of church and state, it also guarantees the freedom to practice religion and the freedom of speech. Balancing these principles can be challenging, but it is essential to create inclusive and respectful educational environments that reflect the values and beliefs of local communities. We propose that public school districts should have the option to consider the use of religious books and texts in a non-devotional manner through a public referendum guided by specific principles.
Local Autonomy and Community Values:
Transparent and Inclusive Decision-Making:
Protecting Against Hasty Changes:
Modern and Accessible Petitioning Process:
Alternatives for Petitioning:
In conclusion, providing public school districts with the option to consider the use of religious books and texts in a non-devotional manner through public referendums empowers local communities, promotes transparency, and respects the diverse values and beliefs of the American people. It strikes a balance between the principles of religious freedom, freedom of speech, and local autonomy, ensuring that decisions about education are made collectively and inclusively. Such a system empowers communities to shape their own educational environments while respecting the constitutional principles that underpin public education in the United States.
Section 1: Purpose and Scope
(a) The purpose of this Act is to empower public school districts in the State of Ohio to make informed decisions about the use of religious books and texts in a non-devotional manner through public referendums.
(b) This Act applies to all public school districts within the State of Ohio.
Section 2: Community Decision-Making
(a) Public school districts in Ohio may consider the use of religious books and texts in a non-devotional manner through a public referendum.
(b) A public referendum shall be initiated by petition as outlined in Section 4 of this Act.
Section 3: Principles of Consideration
(a) Any consideration of religious books and texts shall adhere to the following principles:
(i) Non-Devotional Use: Religious texts may only be considered for non-devotional educational purposes.
(ii) Inclusivity: The decision-making process shall be inclusive and reflect the values and beliefs of the local community.
(iii) Transparency: The process shall be transparent, ensuring that community members are well-informed about the proposed use of religious texts.
(iv) Four-Year Limit: Once approved for use, a religious text may not be considered for removal for a period of four years, providing stability in the curriculum.
Section 4: Petition Process
(a) To initiate a public referendum, a petition shall be submitted to the local school district.
(b) Petitions may be submitted electronically through a portal or smartphone app provided by the school district. The platform shall allow for real-time validation of signatures.
(c) Alternatively, petitioners may collect signatures physically with a witness. This option ensures inclusivity and accessibility.
(d) To qualify for a public referendum, a petition must have signatures from at least 2% of the registered voters in the school district who participated in the last gubernatorial election.
(e) A charge of no more than $5,000 may be imposed on the petitioners to recoup the cost of implementing and maintaining the electronic petition platform.
Section 5: Referendum Outcome
(a) The use of a religious text in a non-devotional manner shall be approved if a majority of the votes cast during the public referendum are in favor of its use.
(b) If the majority of votes cast during the referendum are against the use of the religious text, it shall not be considered for inclusion in the curriculum.
Section 6: Implementation and Guidelines
(a) The Ohio Department of Education shall provide guidelines and procedures for the administration of public referendums in accordance with this Act.
(b) Local school districts shall coordinate with the Ohio Department of Education to ensure the proper implementation of public referendums.
Section 7: Severability
(a) If any provision of this Act or its application to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this Act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
Section 8: Effective Date
(a) This Act shall take effect on [Date] and shall apply to all public school districts within the State of Ohio.
Not paid for by any candidate or candidate campaign - Paif for by the Ohio Republican PAC