Valarie Hodges, Louisiana Lawmaker, Retracts Support For Voucher Program Because Of Muslim School Inclusion

Lawmaker Retracts Support On Voucher Program Because It Includes Muslim Schools

Louisiana Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Watson, is retracting her support for Gov. Bobby Jindal's voucher program, after realizing the money could be applied to Muslim schools, Livingston Parish News reports.

Hodges initially supported the governor's program because she mistakenly equated "religious" with "Christian," according to the report. Jindal's reform package allows state education funds to be used to send students to religious schools.

“Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion... We need to insure [sic] that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana," Hodges was quoted as saying in the Livingston Parish News.

Hodges' outrage comes after Louisiana lawmakers carried out a similar debate when the vouchers were being discussed last month.

"I won't go back home and explain to my people that I supported this," Republican state Rep. Kenneth Havard said, referring to the vouchers "that fund Islamic teaching."

The House approved the bill 51-49 in early June, the Associated Press reports. House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, said the bill's approval depended on a majority vote.

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