Legislation that would require schools to offer nondenominational “moments of silence” advanced in the House on Monday.
The House legislation (HB 737) sponsored by Rep. Kim Daniels, a Jacksonville Democrat, cleared the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.
There was no debate on the measure ahead of the vote.
Three members of the committee had excused absences.
It cleared its previous committee unanimously 17-0 and will sail toward its final committee stop: the Education Committee.
The Senate version (SB 946) has one committee stop left: Rules. The Senate version passed its first committee stop last week, and its successful encore was last week in Judiciary, where the measure was approved 4-2 over Democratic objections.
The bills would require public school principals to compel teachers to offer time for silent reflection at the beginning of the school day.
This proposal would replace the current statute, which calls for a “brief meditation period.”
Silence would be compulsory for at least one minute, but no more than two minutes, Daniels said in opening remarks.
“Thirteen other states have legislated this law, and they are experiencing positive results,” Daniels said, noting students could use the time to make a “mental or emotional transition from a hectic situation.”
“The Legislature finds that in the hectic society of today, 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 bill contends.
“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 language adds.
As well, the bill says that each teacher “shall encourage parents to discuss the moment of silence with their children and make suggestions as to the best use of this time.”
Daniels noted the silence would be just after the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the school day.
One opponent of the bill showed to offer the counternarrative.
Devon Graham of American Atheists opposed the legislation as discriminatory against nonbelievers in a Judeo-Christian God.
“I fear for the retribution that happens when the silence is over,” she said.
February 10, 2020 at 4:07 pm
How about no prayers, no moment of silence, NO RELIGION, PERIOD. No place in schools for religion It is called separation of church and state. If you want religion in school, go to a religious school. end of problem. Go foist your religion on someone else.
February 11, 2020 at 12:21 pm
For one thing… how in the hell can it hurt? For another, the founders never said “separation of church and state” look it up dummy! The demoRATS fabricated that argument!
Damn you demoRATS are ignorant!
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