LifeWise CEO Joel Penton Praises Passage of HB 1425 in Oklahoma, Giving Families Freedom to Choose Religious Instruction During School Hours 

Category: Featured Press

Author: Phillip Fox

80 percent of Americans Support Character Education for Public School Students, Oklahoma is the Latest State to Back Initiative to Help Schools and Students 

(COLUMBUS, OH – June 7, 2024) LifeWise Academy, a nonprofit providing Bible-based character instruction to public school students during school hours under released time religious instruction laws, is releasing a statement praising the passage of HB 1425 in the Oklahoma Senate and House of Representatives, which was signed by Governor Stitt today. This measure gives Oklahoma families the freedom to choose off campus religious study during the school day for their children. 

This statement can be attributed to Joel Penton, CEO of LifeWise: 

“Governor Stitt and the Oklahoma legislature are to be commended for their leadership, with special thanks to the bill’s authors, Representatives Clay Staires and Kevin West, state Senator Dave Rader. Representative Jon Echols and House Speaker Charles McCall were also tremendous champions of HB 1425. Thanks to their efforts, Oklahoma families have the freedom to choose off-campus religious instruction during school hours for their children. 

“At LifeWise, we hear every day from parents and teachers who say that Bible-based character education is having a positive impact on children. It reduces disciplinary problems, improves engagement in the classroom, and gives kids a healthy foundation to handle challenging situations. 

“We encourage Oklahomans to visit to find out how they can get involved and start LifeWise chapters in their communities this fall. We’re excited to partner with parents and schools to get things moving and ensure that children can take advantage of this new opportunity.” 

According to a LifeWise Academy/RMG Research national survey, nearly 80 percent of Americans believe that behavior and discipline problems in schools have gotten worse and that moral and character education can effectively address the problem. The survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted February 13 through February 14. 


  • 71% of voters believe that teaching character education can help teachers and schools be more effective overall.
  • 76% of voters are in favor of teaching moral and character education to public school children.
  • 56% of voters support teaching public school children character lessons along with biblical values, as long as it is with parental consent. They also believe those biblical values help children become good citizens.

Full results of a Thomas P. Miller outcomes report showing improved attendance and behavior can be found here

The Supreme Court ruled in 1952 that public school students could receive religious instruction during the school day so long as it is off school property, privately funded and parent-permitted. 



About LifeWise Academy: LifeWise Academy is a nonprofit that provides character education to public school students during school hours under released time religious instruction laws. Hundreds of communities have launched local LifeWise programs through a 10-step process that begins with collecting community signatures at

LifeWise Academy | PO Box 1179 Hilliard, OH 43026 | Copyright 2024