Preachers in schools? Volunteer chaplains bill has one more Senate committee stop

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The bill leaves it to local boards to implement the chaplain proposal at their discretion.

The House has passed legislation allowing school districts to establish volunteer chaplain programs. Will the Senate be next?

The bill (SB 1044) will be heard in Monday’s Rules Committee, which will be the final stop for the Sen. Erin Grall legislation before it hits the floor.

The Appropriations Committee on Education was the latest committee to move forward the measure that would “authorize volunteer school chaplains to provide supports, services, and programs to students as assigned by the district school board or charter school governing board.”

The bill leaves it to school districts to implement the chaplain proposal at their discretion.

Boards would have to determine to which programs and services chaplains would be assigned, would have to inform parents that chaplains be informed, and would have to get parental consent before chaplains interacted with students.

“Parents must be permitted to select a volunteer school chaplain from the list provided by the school district, which must include the chaplain’s religious affiliation, if any,” the bill reads, noting that the list must be published on the district website.

In the last committee, Sen. Gayle Harrell said the bill would allow “anyone of any faith to volunteer to become a chaplain,” potentially opening the door to some very interesting “spiritual centering” for students in the state’s 67 counties.

Meanwhile, the House passed its own product by an 89-25 vote last week, moving a similar bill to the Senate iteration.

HB 931, sponsored by Republican Rep. Stan McClain and Democratic Rep. Kim Daniels, encountered Democratic resistance in the amendment process and ahead of the final vote, which Daniels addressed in memorable floor debate.

“I am the opponent of this bill’s worst nightmare,” Daniels continued. “I cast out devils, I pray in tongues, I’m a Holy Roller. But nobody on this floor can ever say I tried to convert you. Jesus is too good to push down anybody’s throats.”

Don’t expect quotes that lively to emerge from the Rules Committee, but it is likely that Grall’s bill moves forward for full Senate consideration.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


17 comments

  • Dont Say FLA

    February 24, 2024 at 2:07 pm

    I bet their first volunteer chaplain will be Matt Gaetz. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear he’s getting ordained online by Universal Life Church right now. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    • Matt Gaetz Babysitting Services

      February 24, 2024 at 2:32 pm

      Praise be! 🛐⛪️

  • Paul

    February 24, 2024 at 3:02 pm

    If unwanted proselytizing occurs, I suggest corporal punishment be rendered. Just a decent slap upside said Preacher’s head will do.

  • TJC

    February 24, 2024 at 4:29 pm

    Wouldn’t you know it? Our legislators in Tallahassee finally come up with a bipartisan bill, and it’s as wacky as can be. Talk about opening up a can of worms. “…anyone of any faith can volunteer…” Oh, send in the holiest of the holies! Watch them sue school districts when they are rejected because their “faith” happens to be not exactly what the authors of this bill had in mind.
    This is going to be fun.

  • Julia

    February 24, 2024 at 4:29 pm

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  • PeterH

    February 24, 2024 at 9:03 pm

    At CPAC, Jack Posobiec, a champion of the Republican arm of right wing flank made the Republican Party’s agenda perfectly clear to the American electorate:

    “Our goal is to totally end Democracy!”

    Republicans are America’s worst enemy!
    Vote all Republicans out of office!

    • MH/Duuuval

      February 26, 2024 at 4:34 pm

      Probably just as well you did not include the totality of his comments — this guy is to the right of Genghis Khan.

      • Dont Say FLA

        February 29, 2024 at 12:02 pm

        Agree. Normally a statement like that which gets widely reported omits the context of “sarcasm” or whatever.

        This guy, however, did not seem to be joking in any way shape or form when he said that.

        If it was a joke, it was so dry that even I couldn’t tell it was a joke. And that is drier than Mrs Rhonda when Rhonda makes his moves.

  • waking up all rite

    February 25, 2024 at 9:00 am

    America was born upon the separation of church and state. Not content to gut our public schools by sucking money to “charter” a/k/a religious schools, these anti-american fools want to destroy the remaining public schools by adding “counselors” to help fleece the flock. I pray that this misguided and anti-american ideology falls flat on its farce. God damn these legislators!!!

    • Michael K

      February 25, 2024 at 9:13 am

      They are trying to turn this nation into a theocracy that gas nothing to do with “Christ” but everything about power and control, aided and abetted by a Catholic Supreme Court to create an American Taliban.

      • MH/Duuuval

        February 25, 2024 at 10:35 am

        Erin Grall has done little else in her lengthy tenure in the Legislature except attempt to advance her extreme religious views. I am not in favor of term limits, but since her voters appear to support her attempt to proselytize, I make an exception here. Good riddance, soon!

  • My Take

    February 25, 2024 at 12:29 pm

    Heck, these bigots won’t approve rabbis, far less imams and mullahs. They will half gag at Catholic priests and full gag at robed orthodox ones.
    And women ministers? Ha!
    Don’t make it easy for them.
    Send tem shamen … and whatever wiccens have.

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    February 25, 2024 at 5:05 pm

    Good evening America,
    Its great to know these Pistol Packing Preachers are there to Teach The Word of God in second period and run over to the gym at third period to blow the brains out of a would-be-school shooter.
    Great job Fla Legislature,
    Earl Pitts American

  • Dont Say FLA

    February 29, 2024 at 8:25 am

    Since the “strippers gotta be 21” thing failed, maybe fail this “chaplains in schools” thing too and send the chaplains to the strip clubs to serve and protect 18, 19 and 20 year old strippers by molesting them (seriously the only tangible result of having chaplains at a place is molestation) until they learn the adulthood style lesson of not wanting to be a stripper

  • Josh Green

    February 29, 2024 at 3:06 pm

    If you want preachers in schools, send them to a religious school.
    It’s simple.

    Keep this Fairy Tale nonsense FAAAAAR away from public schools and my kids.

  • Hail Satan 😊

    February 29, 2024 at 3:08 pm

    The Satanic Temple has already said they will be the first to volunteer chaplains to schools who approve this.

    God Bless the Satanic Temple. They are truly doing God’s work.

  • Joe

    March 1, 2024 at 10:46 am

    Religious zealots and uneducated farmfolk, this bowl of mixed nuts represents Florida’s RepubliQan party perfectly.

Comments are closed.


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