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Florida K-12 public schools to require 'moment of silence' for students every day to pray or reflect

Students can reflect, 'pray as they see fit'
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a news conference at The Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside on June 14, 2021.jpg
Posted at 2:49 PM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 17:49:38-04

SURFSIDE, Fla. (WPTV) -- Students in every K-12 public school in Florida will soon be able to observe a moment of silence at the start of each school day, if they so choose.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed HB 529 into law, which requires teachers in first-period classrooms in all K-12 public schools to set aside at least one minute, but no more than two minutes every day "for a moment of silence."

During that time, "students may not interfere with other students' participation."

In addition, "a teacher may not make suggestions as to the nature of any reflection that a student may engage in during the moment of silence."

"We think it's something that's important to be able to provide each student the ability, every day, to be able to reflect and to be able to pray as they see fit," DeSantis said Monday during a news conference at the Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside.

WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds news conference in Surfside

The new law states 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. Young persons are particularly affected by the absence of an opportunity for a moment of quiet reflection."

The law goes on to say that Florida's 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 idea that you can just push God out of every institution and be successful, I'm sorry, our founding fathers did not believe that," DeSantis said. "We have an opportunity here to really protect the religious freedom of everybody who's going to school K-12 in the state of Florida."

The new law goes into effect on July 1. Read more by clicking here.

Earlier on Monday, a plane carrying DeSantis was diverted and forced to land at Palm Beach International Airport because of thunderstorms across South Florida.

The governor's news conference was delayed about two hours and started shortly after 2 p.m.

A protester briefly interrupted DeSantis' address at the Shul on Monday while the governor was thanking local law enforcement officers for their commitment to the community.

"You're playing political games with our freedom of speech!" the protester shouted from the audience. "You're playing political games!"

A team of security officers quickly removed the man from the Shul.

VIDEO OF PROTESTER:

Protester interrupts Gov. Ron DeSantis news conference in Surfside

This story originally reported by Matt Papycik on WPTV.com.