The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meets on Monday, April 10, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meets on Monday, April 10, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

School board OKs policy revisions

Changes to the policy, which was first adopted in 2006, came as part of a routine review

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education on Monday approved updates to the section of board policy that addresses the recognition of religious beliefs and customs in the district.

Changes to the policy, which was first adopted in 2006, came as part of a routine review of the 6000 section of board policy, which addresses instruction, that kicked off last spring. Changes were proposed by the school board’s policy committee and have previously appeared before the full board, and largely restructures existing elements of the policy.

New additions include a sentence that says the board will not “prevent, or otherwise deny participation in, constitutionally protected private religious expression in schools.”

The policy, among other things, says that schools may teach about religion from a “historical, cultural, sociological or other educational perspective” and says the district recognizes the rights of all students to engage in private religious activity.

“The Board recognizes that students’ education would be incomplete without an understanding of religion in society,” the revised policy opens with.

Teachers may objectively discuss the influence of various religions with the goal of broadening a student’s understanding of social and cultural history.

Board of Education Vice President Zen Kelly during the board’s Monday night meeting read the revised policy into the record.

“This board policy took a while to get from the inception in the policy committee all the way through second read and I really think it’s important that the public hears what this policy addresses and the final draft of it,” Kelly said.

Approval of the revised policy by board members on Monday capped the end of a roughly year-long revision process. Also approved by board members Monday were revisions to board policies addressing the district clerk and treasurer, attorney and board members.

Monday’s board of education meeting can be streamed on the KPBSD Board Docs page.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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