Bill Would Allow Teachers to Post Ten Commandments in Public Schools

A northeast Texas state lawmaker is calling for the Ten Commandments to be returned to public school classrooms, at the discretion of the teacher, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Republican Dan Flynn, who is from Van Zandt County, west of Tyler, has introduced HB 307 in the upcoming legislature session.  It amends the Texas Education Code with the language 'the board of trustees of an independent school district may not prohibit the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments in a prominent location in a district classroom.'

Supporters say since the 'posting' would be done by the teacher and not by the school district, it would not be a violation of the 'Establishment Clause' of the Constitution, which bans 'government' from supporting or enforcing a specific religion.  

But opponents say when the teacher is in a public school classroom, that teacher is a 'representative of the government' just as much as a police officer, a cty code inspector, or an IRS auditor, and with the weight of that government connection comes the responsibility not to attempt to enforce a specific religion.

Texas has a mixed record over the years when it comes to the Ten Commandments.  The Biblical document has not been allowed in public schools, other than as a teaching aid for government or civics classes.  

But as Attorney General, now Gov. Greg Abbott won a major case in the U.S. Supreme Court which allowed a tablet containing the Ten Commandments, which was donated by a private organization, to remain on the grounds of the state Capitol.

Experts say if Flynn's proposal passes, a court challenge is likely.


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