New proposal to protect schools lawsuits based on religion

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 2/25 7:06 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) -  A proposal to protect Tennessee schools from lawsuits for allowing traditional winter celebrations or religious displays has passed in the senate.

Under the proposal that unanimously passed, schools would be protected from lawsuits if they include more than one religion or religious symbol to recognize or celebrate a religious holidays. The proposal also allows students and school staff to use greeting like "Merry Christmas," or "Happy Hanukkah," without the threat of a lawsuit from non-religious groups.

Hamilton County School superintendent Rick Smith says it comes down to being more inclusive.

"Cities like Chattanooga, are becoming more and more diverse. That diversity brings with it differences and we have to recognize and appreciate those differences," Smith said.

All eyes are on state lawmakers because the proposal is still within it's early stages and would still need to go before House for a vote.

"If this passes, we'll get direction from Nashville but also we'll look at it with our attorney's to design talking points for our principals as we look to next year," Smith said.

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