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DeSantis Signs Bill Requiring Moments Of Silence In K-12 Schools

Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session, Friday, April 30, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session, Friday, April 30, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.

On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill requiring moments of silence in K-12 schools. First-period teachers will begin the moment of silence each day and it will last one to two minutes. Teachers won’t be able to tell students what to reflect on during that time. Speaking during a bill signing ceremony at a Jewish Community Center in Miami-Dade County, DeSantis said the new law is meant to protect religious freedom.

“We think it’s something that’s important to be able to provide each student the ability every day to be able to reflect and to be able to pray as they see fit. The idea that you can just push God out of every institution and be successful—I’m sorry our founding fathers did not believe that,” DeSantis said.

During the 2021 legislative session, opponents of the measure including Sen. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) argued that mandating a moment of silence in public schools blurs the line between church and state.

“There can be unintended consequences of students who are going to be in situations where they can’t leave, and yet they are vulnerable and ostracized for not participating,” Berman said.

The new law encourages parents to discuss with their children how to best spend their time during each day’s moment of silence. The law will take effect July 1, ahead of the 2021-2022 school year.
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