TAMPA (WFLA) – The school day will start a bit differently in Florida.
Gov. DeSantis signed HB 529, the “Moment of Silence in Public Schools” bill, into law while at an event at The Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside.
Under the law, school principals will be required to direct first-period teachers to allow for between one to two minutes for a moment of silence at the beginning of the school day.
“The idea you can just push God out of every institution and you can be successful, I am sorry our founding fathers did not believe that,” DeSantis said.
Under the proposal, which would cover all K-12 public school classrooms, teachers can not recommend what students do with that time but should encourage parents to have that conversation with their children.
Opponents said the measure promotes prayer in school. Rep. Lori Berman questioned whether students could pull out a rosary, make the sign of the cross or use a prayer rug and wondered if that would make some students uncomfortable.
Fourteen states already mandate moments of silence at the beginning of each school day, and seventeen states allow for one although it isn’t required, according to a legislative staff report on the bill.
Florida is in the second category, with each school board deciding for itself whether a moment of silence is necessary.