Moment of silence now required across Sunshine State
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - Florida became one of 15 states to require schools to provide a moment of silence at the beginning of each school day Monday.
The moment of reflection was already allowed, but after July 1, it becomes mandatory.
Florida lawmakers start each day with a prayer.
Now, with the stroke of the governor’s pen, K-12 students will get one to two minutes each morning to reflect.
Whether the moment of silence lasts one minute or two is up to the teacher under the legislation.
Bill Sponsor Representative Randy Fine told us it will give students a break from a fast-moving society.
“With technology, the media and cell phones, children just don’t have that time to be centered the way we’d like them to be. This is going to allow them to be quiet and let the world into their minds in a way that may not be happening today,” said Fine.
Key points in the legislation: Students may not interfere with other students’ participation, and a teacher may not suggest the nature of any reflection.
But teachers are required to encourage parents to talk with their children about how to use the moment of silence.
“We are staunch believers of the separation of Church and State,” said Devon Graham with American Atheists.
Graham testified against the idea because she’s worried it will lead to bullying and more.
She told us she believes the new law’s true intent is to mandate prayer in schools.
“It is a bit of a back door way of getting there,” said Graham.
Making the moment mandatory also upset opponents.
“There’s no reason to force them to participate in something they don’t want to do,” said Graham.
The Florida School Boards Association told us more than half the districts were already allowing a moment of silence each day.
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