‘Religion in school’ bill moves past House education committee
Prayers At Lunch

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The Florida House advanced a bill that would allow school administrators to pray in public schools throughout the state if students initiate those prayers.

HB 303 unanimously passed the House Education Committee Thursday. The measure would violate the decades-old federal provision separating church and state, and may likely be challenged at some point.

However, at the committee meeting in Tallahassee, there were no oppositional voices as the bill moved passed its second hurdle. The bill’s next stop is a vote on the House floor.

The only concern from members of the committee seemed to come from Rep. Rene Plasencia, who wondered if there was a provision to prevent “satanic” groups from being allowed to express their rights. Plasencia is a former teacher.

“We prayed in school in Orange County, but the problem was that a demonic group came to our school,” the lawmaker said. “Is there anything (in the bill) that prevents a satanic group from coming to a school?”

Rep. Kimberly Daniels, co-sponsor of the bill, said it didn’t, but cited that six other states in the country had passed such measures without incidents involving so-called satanic groups.

Conversely, a big concern from those in the public, was discrimination against Christianity. Several citizens addressed the committee, voicing their support for the measure, including special interest groups.

“We hope you can support this most wonderful bill,” said Shawn Frost, who was at the meeting representing the Florida Coalition of School Board Members.

Rep. Patricia Williams, a freshman legislator and co-sponsor of the bill, addressed committee members in closing the proposal.

“If we as legislators can pray if we want to, then why can’t our children?”

Les Neuhaus

Les Neuhaus is an all-platform journalist, with specialties in print reporting and writing. In addition to Florida Politics, he freelances as a general-assignment and breaking-news reporter for most of the major national daily newspapers, along with a host of digital media, and a human rights group. A former foreign correspondent across Africa and Asia, including the Middle East, Les covered a multitude of high-profile events in chronically-unstable nations. He’s a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, in which he served as a Security Policeman, and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in political science. He is a proud father to his daughter and enjoys spending time with his family.


3 comments

  • Rev. Gloria Stanchak Alexander

    March 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Nothing wrong with prayer as long as no one group intrudes on another.tr

    • Lark Day

      March 30, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      This is the problem…intrusion. As a nontheist, I have ZERO problem with a moment of silence to start the day. It would probably do the Legislature some good to do the same. The student may do whatever they want with that…reflect, meditate, pray, but silently which avoids singling out individual children for being different or making them feel they must participate against their family’s wishes just to “fit in.” The majority of people in this country may be Christian, but we have a Constitution that prohibits the establishment of a State religion and the courts have always held that to mean a particular religious system of beliefs, in addition to the Founders fear of a Church of England scenario. This proposal is a waste of taxpayer money as it will wind up in court, AGAIN, and be defeated AGAIN. Our State has enough financial problems without wasting money on things like this just to make a point.

  • Lark Day

    March 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Rep. Plasecia is right to question the result of this bill passing as our legislators appear to have a very short memory when it comes to displays of religion at their very own State House. THIS is what you are asking for if you begin this argument…a waste of taxpayer money in legal fees and results that fundamentalist Christians will not be happy with. https://floridapolitics.com/?s=state+house+creche+tallahassee+satanic Public schools must be inclusive of all children. Complaining that Christian children can’t pray means that you are also complaining that Muslim children, Jewish children, and Buddhaist children cant pray either and that children from atheist families are being denied the right to explain little Johnny’s error in praying to his imaginary friend. There was even a Wiccan family at one of my kid’s’schools years ago. Seriously, you do not want to go down this road. If you want your child praying in school, do what my parents did. Send them to a religious school.

Comments are closed.


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