House Education Committee advances 10 Commandments bill

By Piper Naudin | LSU Manship School News Service

The House Education Committee voted 10-3 Thursday to advance a bill to require public schools to display the 10 Commandments.

House Bill 7l, by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, is attempting to navigate the traditional legal divide between church and state. Under the bill, which next goes to the House floor, the commandments would need to be displayed in a format of at least 11 by 14 inches.

In other action involving education this week, the House voted 74-28 Wednesday to ban COVID vaccine requirements at K-12 schools and colleges. That bill now goes to the Senate. Other bills advanced through the Senate Education Committee Wednesday to require school buses to have heating and air-conditioning systems and to expand mental health counseling for
students.

One of the bills, by Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, would require each local school board and college to have at least one mental health counselor for student athletes. Many athletes are under extreme pressure that impacts their mental health and cause serious issues such as depression, anxiety and suicide.

Janice Miller testified that she lost her daughter, Elena, to suicide almost two years ago after she suffered a severe sports injury and months of declining mental health. She said thinks often about the words her daughter shared with her before she died.

“Those people you think are OK aren’t OK,” Miller said. “Mental health matters.”

Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, also aimed to increase mental health counseling and facilities in schools through bills advanced by the committee.