Gov. Kemp signs law allowing Bible electives in Georgia public schools, new scholarships

Gov. Brian Kemp has signed a law that will allow public high schools in Georgia greater freedom to offer courses on Christianity, and offer new scholarship opportunities for qualifying students. (Image: James Nichols)

Gov. Brian Kemp has signed a law that will allow public high schools in Georgia greater freedom to offer courses on Christianity, and provides new scholarship opportunities for qualifying students.

Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga sponsored Senate Bill 83. He says it will allow high schools to offer courses on Hebrew Scriptures as well as the Old and New Testaments.

According to the legislation, the courses will "be taught in an objective and nondevotional manner with no attempt made to indoctrinate students as to either the truth or falsity of the biblical materials or texts from other religious or cultural traditions."

It also says the courses will not include religious doctrine or sectarian interpretation, and will not "disparage or encourage" those committed to religious beliefs.

Sen. Mullis also says the second part of the law establishes the Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) scholarship program. REACH is described as a needs-based mentoring and scholarship program to help high schoolers in their path to collegiate success.

Among other requirements, REACH recipients have to qualify for federal free or reduced lunch programs, have a limited number of unexcused absences, and a clean criminal and drug-related record.

“Our students have the right to expand their knowledge through various opportunities and SB 83 will do that," says Sen. Mullis, "This legislation allows them to choose to learn about the history of the Bible and gives them the opportunity to continue their academics by utilizing the REACH Scholarship Program. By empowering our students to have choices and access to additional resources, we can guarantee they will achieve success.”

You can read the bill below, or learn more on the state website here.



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