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'Celebrate Freedom Week' approved by House
The Kansas House on Friday approved a bill that will require public schools to have a "Celebrate Freedom Week" every year in mid-September.
Supporters said it would help students learn more about the early history of the United States and founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.
"I think it's time we got involved in celebrating patriotism," said state Rep. John Bradford, R-Lansing, who said he felt that children were not getting enough instruction on U.S. history.
But opponents of House Bill 2280 said schools were already teaching American history and that mandating a specific period for the instruction could mess up teachers' class schedules.
"How ironic that we have a bill with freedom in the name that is one more mandate on local government," said state Rep. Don Hineman, R-Dighton.
State Rep. Ward Cassidy, R-St. Francis, said he liked the idea of a "Celebrate Freedom Week," but opposed mandating schools to have it. "I don't think every time we come up with a great idea we should force schools to do that great idea," he said.
The measure was approved 95-25 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
In addition to studying the "original intent, meaning and importance" of the nation's early documents, the bill says, "The religious references in the writings of the founding fathers shall not be censored when presented as part of such instruction."