The Legislature has spoken and there will not be required moments of silence in Florida schools.
Legislation that would require schools to offer non-denominational “moments of silence” cleared the Senate Friday.
But the bill was continually “temporarily postponed.”
The bills would have required public school principals to compel teachers to offer time for silent reflection at the beginning of the school day.
This proposal would have replaced the current statute, which calls for a “brief meditation period.”
If the bill had passed, silence would have been compulsory for at least one minute, but no more than two minutes.
Ocala Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley had described his bill (SB 946) as a simple measure to make a moment of silence a “part of the school day.”
The Senate had calendared identical House legislation (HB 737) sponsored by Rep. Kim Daniels, a Jacksonville Democrat.
“It would be required to start every day this way,” Baxley said in a previous debate.
Baxley said he allows himself his own moments of silence.
Senate budget chair Rob Bradley said in committee this “could be one of the most important bills of the Session.”
“The Constitution guarantees … freedom of speech … and also prohibits the establishment of religion,” Bradley said, contending there’s a balance.
“There is a place where you can be you, whatever that is,” Bradley said. “And that place is contained within the moment of silence, for believers and otherwise.”
However, that silence will not be in statute.
“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 bill contends.
Those youth, and society as a whole, won’t be served that way in 2020.