News & Features » News

Florida GOP senator's bill calling for a daily ‘moment of silence’ is definitely not an attempt to get prayer in public schools

The bill would amend the section of state law titled “Permitting study of the Bible and religion.”

by

comment
PHOTO VIA DENNISBAXLEY.COM
  • Photo via dennisbaxley.com
An effort to require public-school students to engage in a moment of silence at the start of each school day is back before the state Legislature. Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, refiled legislation on Thursday that would require principals to direct first-period teachers to set aside one to two minutes for “quiet reflection.” The bill is filed for the 2021 legislation session, which will begin March 2.

“The Legislature finds that in today’s hectic society too few persons are able to experience even a moment of quiet reflection before plunging headlong into the activities of daily life,” the bill says. “Young persons are particularly affected by the absence of an opportunity for a moment of quiet reflection. 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 House voted 96-20 to approve a similar proposal during the 2020 session, but the Senate did not pass the measure. During the 2020 session, Baxley said a moment of silence could help set a “different tone” for the day.

Under Baxley’s proposal, first-period teachers would have to encourage parents or guardians to discuss with their children how best to use the moment of silence. Teachers would not be allowed to suggest the nature of any silent reflection that students would engage in.



Rep. Carlos Smith, D-Orlando, tweeted Thursday that the bill was “dumb.”


Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.