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OK governor signs bill to protect student 'release time' for religious instruction

Thursday, Jun 6, 2024

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Greg Chafuen regarding Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s signing Wednesday of HB 1425, a bill that protects the right of parents to have their child briefly excused from school to receive religious instruction during the school day if they so choose:

“Parents have the right and responsibility to guide the upbringing and education of their children. And many parents consider religious instruction an important part of their child’s education. While public schools can teach about the Bible from a neutral, secular perspective, release-time programs offer religious courses taught by third-party charitable organizations off school grounds during school hours. These programs accommodate parents’ desire for their children to receive religious instruction that public schools cannot provide. Even the Supreme Court has approved of release-time programs saying that a state ‘follows the best of our traditions’ when it ‘encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities’ to accommodate religion. This legislation ensures that every Oklahoman knows that the law respects their right to seek religious education for their children through these time-tested programs. We commend the Oklahoma Legislature and Gov. Stitt for making sure parents are in the driver’s seat to direct the upbringing and education of their kids.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Chafuen (CHAFF’-wen)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Greg Chafuen

Greg Chafuen serves as senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom’s Center for Public Policy. He focuses on legislation impacting religious liberty at the state level. Prior to joining ADF, Chafuen spent three years as a white-collar defense litigator at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Washington, D.C. and one year as a law clerk to the Hon. Alice Batchelder on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Chafuen earned his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School, graduating cum laude in 2015. While at Notre Dame, he served as president of the Notre Dame chapter of the Federalist Society, a member of a journal’s editorial board, and a member of the moot court board. He is a 2013 Blackstone Fellow and a Rumsfeld Foundation Fellow. Chafuen is admitted to the bars of Virginia and Washington, D.C.