DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — When students return to school in the fall, they’ll be met with a mandatory moment of silence that was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday morning.
The new law goes into effect on July 1.
What You Need To Know
- Gov. DeSantis signed a law Monday that will require schools in the state to have a mandatory moment of silence
- The law will go into effect on July 1
- The moment of silence will be held during the first period of the school day and will last between one and two minutes
Nicole Peterson Carr spent Tuesday morning reading up on HB 529, which details the new rules that will affect her daughter Lexi when she starts 5th grade in the fall.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking about it and I think it is good for the kids,” said Peterson Carr.
The law just signed by DeSantis states that schools will be required to have first period teachers hold a moment of silence at the beginning of the day, which will last at least one minute but no more than two. In January of 2020, the law was met with opposition from parents and leaders from the group American Atheists.
"I am concerned that a moment of silence law, if passed, would encourage educators to engage in improper proselytization," said American Athiests Director Devon Graham. "There is no guidelines for teachers to discuss the moment of silence in a way that does not promote religious practice."
Pastor Derrick Harris, of Master’s Domain Church of God in Christ, supports the new law, but thinks it is written in a way that allows for secular reflection — as the way the silent time is spent will be up to the student.
“I think this really helps individuals to be able to have that time, just that short moment of time, to be able to reflect on life, what is really going on, and most importantly because teachers are not allowed to encourage them what to pray for or who to pray for or even to pray period, it just gives a pause button in the middle of the day for them to be able to just reflect on everything that is going on in life,” Harris said.
Peterson Carr says that is how she is taking the new requirement as well.
“It is a life lesson to be able to sit and unplug, reflect, be quiet, have patience, and I think that is what a lot of the moms are saying," she said. "Not many of my friends are looking at the angle of the religion aspects, but it is just to decompress."
The law encourages parents to speak to their children about the moment of silence, which she says she plans to do.
“I will turn it more as, think about maybe papa in heaven or what you want to do today or your golf game or your match, reflect back on something that will make you happy so that will make you have a successful day,” said Peterson Carr.
Harris said he also plans to talk to his congregation about it — and is hopeful about the effect these minutes could have.
“If we meet this the right way, I think this can be a very positive thing," said Harris.