Tallahassee, FL -- May 3, 2012 --
Many Florida school students participated in the National Day of Prayer by voluntarily attending religious events. Next year, attending school events where prayers are offered may not be voluntary. Capitol Correspondent Whitney Ray asked Governor Rick Scott about the inspirational message bill, at a prayer event in Tallahassee.
Surrounded by Christians, pastors and politicians Governor Rick Scott was prayed for Thursday. Heads were bowed and hands reached out to the governor, on the top floor of the state capitol.
After the National Day of Pray event we asked Scott why he signed a bill to allow students to give inspirational messages at school events.
“It’s the right thing for our state,” said Scott.
Whether pray in school is right or wrong is subject to debate. Whether or not it’s legal is up to the judicial branch. The new law allows students to organize “inspirational messages,” at secondary school events like football games and graduation.
The ACLU of Florida says limiting the venues and calling prayers, messages, won’t keep schools from being sued.
“It in fact will open them up to that kind of litigation,” said Randall Marshall a lawyer with the ACLU.
The legislation had required the state to pay the legal fees of any school that was sued. But the bill was changed before it passed and now whether or not a school gets legal support is up to the state.
Lawsuits aside, students like Price Thornal, who pray privately at school, say they wouldn’t mine open prayer.
“I think it would be a great thing to do. I wish they had it right now to be honest with you,” said Price.
The bill becomes law in July. Then school districts will have the option to adopt a prayer policy. Many will choose to do nothing over concerns of costly lawsuits. We asked Governor Scott if the state will come to the aid of any school sued for allowing student prayer. He answered saying school districts will do the right thing.