(CNS News) -- In a step denounced by liberal critics as an attempt to put prayer back in school, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law on Monday a bill that requires the public schools to implement a "moment of silence."
Gov. DeSantis signed the bill (HB 529) into law at the Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside, Fla., which is an Orthodox Jewish community center.
"It's important to be able to provide each student the ability every day to reflect and be able to pray as they see fit," said DeSantis after signing the bill. "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."
The new law's summary states, "The bill requires a moment of silence to be set aside for students during each school day. The bill directs the principal of each public school to require teachers in first-period classrooms in all grades to set aside one to two minutes daily for a moment of silence, during which students may not interfere with other students’ participation."
The bill also provides that a teacher:
- May not make suggestions as to the nature of any reflection that a student may engage in during the moment of silence.
- Must encourage parents to discuss the moment of silence with their children and to make suggestions as to the best use of this time.
The legislation passed in the Florida Senate 94-24, and in the Florida house, 32-6.
The new law states, "The Legislature finds that in today's hectic society too few persons are able to experience even a moment of quiet reflection before plunging headlong into the activities of daily life. Young persons are particularly affected by the absence of an opportunity for a moment of quiet reflection. The Legislature finds that our youth, and society as a whole, would be well served if students in the public schools were afforded a moment of silence at the beginning of each school day."
The law goes into effect July 1, 2021.
Florida House Rep. Omari Hardi (D), complained about the new law in a tweet, "The Republican who sponsored the bill said that it wasn't about prayer in school. (Of course it was!) But when you question their motives, or their honesty, it's called a personal attack & deemed out of order. No. The Republicans lie, and we need to call them on it every time."
The Republican who sponsored the bill said that it wasn't about prayer in school. (Of course it was!)— Rep. Omari Hardy (@OmariJHardy) June 14, 2021
But when you question their motives, or their honesty, it's called a personal attack & deemed out of order.
No. The Republicans lie, and we need to call them on it every time. https://t.co/BSDKJuS3fu