Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared, "You can't be successful without God," and in light of that statement, signed a bill that requires public schools to start each school day with a moment of silence and reflection.
The bill, HB 529, requires first-period teachers to start their classes with one minute (but no more than two minutes) of silence, "during which students may not interfere with other students' participation."
Prayer is not included in the new law nor are teachers allowed to give suggestions on how the students use the time, but the bill does encourage teachers to stress the importance of parents discussing with their children the best use of the time.
"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," the new law states. "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."
"Every family in our state should be able to send their children to school and know that they will be protected from harm and be able to practice their faith," DeSantis said during the press conference.
"The idea that you can just push God out of every institution and you can be successful—I am sorry, our Founding Fathers did not believe that," he added, calling the bill's passing an "opportunity to protect religious freedom."
Rep. Randy Fine, a sponsor of the bill, said a moment of silence is needed in light of the "technological, media-driven and societal turmoil" plaguing our world.
"Our children desperately need time for quiet reflection," Fine said. "Because it is in those fleeting moments that we find our higher purpose."
He said he decided to sponsor the bill "to ensure that each child gets a minute at the beginning of the school day—without a TV on or a cellphone blaring—to think about the world and their place in it. It is my hope that these small moments to become emotionally centered will have a big impact on their days—and their lives."
DeSantis also highlighted initiatives included in the Florida Leads budget to support Florida's Jewish community and Israel, according to flgov.com.
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