News Releases

Raatz Roundup: Supporting parent's rights and freedom of religion

Supporting parent's rights and freedom of religion

By State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond)

In Indiana, we aim to give families as much choice as possible in where and how they educate their children. In recent years, the General Assembly approved a process to give parents the flexibility to allow their children to receive religious instruction during the school day from an external vendor if their children are enrolled in public school.

However, some parents told legislators they had difficulty working with their school principals to get approval for their students to be excused. That’s why I sponsored House Enrolled Act 1137, which puts control back into the hands of parents.

HEA 1137 requires a principal to allow a student to attend religious instruction if their parent gives them permission. Previously, the principal was given the authority to give permission to the student or not. By putting authority back into the hands of parents, we are recognizing that parents know what type of education is best for their children.

The law also makes the process of determining when a student would be excused collaborative between the principal, parents, and entity offering religious instruction. The more involved parents can be in the process, the better. The collaboration ensures everyone involved understands how to best address student needs.

HEA 1137 also requires the entity offering religious instruction to work with the principal to ensure this period is the least disruptive to instructional time. This ensures students can have a well-rounded education, benefitting from religious instruction while using their time wisely and not missing out on learning core subjects or other topics they might be struggling with.

Constituents can reach out to me with any questions or concerns they may have by filling out a "Contact Me" form on the website or by phone at 800-382-9467.


State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond) represents Senate District 27, which includes
Henry, Union and Wayne counties, and portions of Franklin County.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.