Public schools; electives on the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament and the New Testament. (SB1502)

Introduced By

Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson) with support from co-patrons Sen. Dick Black (R-Leesburg), and Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Midlothian)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Public schools; electives on the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament and the New Testament. Requires the Board of Education to authorize local school boards to offer as an elective in grades nine through 12, with appropriate credits toward graduation, a course on the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament of the Bible or the New Testament of the Bible or a combined course on both. The bill requires the Board of Education to develop Standards of Learning and curriculum guidelines for such courses. The bill provides that the purpose of such courses is to introduce students to biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy. The bill prohibits students from being required to use a specific translation of a religious text when taking the courses and provides that such courses shall maintain religious neutrality and shall not endorse, favor, promote, disfavor, or show hostility toward any particular religion or nonreligious perspective. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/08/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/19 19100931D
01/08/2019Referred to Committee on Education and Health
01/16/2019Assigned Education sub: Public Education
01/25/2019Impact statement from DPB (SB1502)
01/31/2019Reported from Education and Health with amendment (8-Y 6-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
02/01/2019Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/04/2019Read second time
02/04/2019Reading of amendment waived
02/04/2019Committee amendment agreed to
02/04/2019Engrossed by Senate as amended SB1502E
02/04/2019Printed as engrossed 19100931D-E
02/04/2019Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/04/2019Passed Senate (22-Y 18-N) (see vote tally)
02/06/2019Placed on Calendar
02/06/2019Read first time
02/06/2019Referred to Committee on Education
02/08/2019Assigned Education sub: Subcommittee #2
02/08/2019Impact statement from DPB (SB1502E)
02/13/2019Subcommittee recommends reporting (6-Y 4-N)
02/13/2019Subcommittee recommends referring to Committee on Appropriations
02/13/2019Reported from Education (13-Y 9-N) (see vote tally)
02/13/2019Referred to Committee on Appropriations
02/13/2019Assigned App. sub: Elementary & Secondary Education
02/19/2019Left in Appropriations


Christine DeRosa writes:

Separation of Church and State must be maintained in our schools. World Religions and Comparative Religions courses are already offered. Such courses would help students explore different world religions. Focusing only on one western (Christian) religion is not appropriate in our public schools. Such narrowly-focused studies should be offered at a church or other private site. As a retired public school teacher, a long-time Virginia resident, and someone who was exposed to/brought up with Christianity and Buddhism, I oppose this bill.

Christine Ilich writes:

Separation of Church and State, please.. Bible classes have no place in public schools. I agree, this is the type of thing that is offered in churches and that is just fine. As a Virginia resident, I strongly oppose this bill.

robert legge writes:

I do not favor this. But at the least, this is not something that that General Assembly should be demanding schools do.

Jeffrey Cartwright writes:

This bill clearly breaches the separation between church and state. It has no place in our laws and will most likely be vetoed by the governor. I had hoped that the days of pushing legislation like this through the legislature just to make points with political preachers were gone. Let them teach Sunday school, not invade our schools.