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Senate passes school prayer bill

by Dara Kam | February 1st, 2012

After a heartfelt debate from both sides, the Florida Senate approved a measure authorizing student-led prayers at schools as long as adults are not involved.

The “inspirational messages” proposal (SB 98), proposed by Orlando Democratic Sen. Gary Siplin and approved by a 31-8 vote, would allow school boards to adopt policies granting students the right to have prayers at any school assembly but school administrators, teachers, coaches or other personnel from scrutinizing or participating in the prayers.

A handful of Democrats argued against the bill, saying students already have the opportunity to pray privately objecting that the measure could create divisiveness.

“We don’t have an issue in the state of Florida with the lack of ability of public school students to pray openly.
What we want to do is keep our public school kids with the one inspirational message they all need: study, study, study.
When they come to the school they can park their religious beliefs at home,” said Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, who is Catholic.

But Sen. Joe Negron argued that schools have gone too far in limiting students’ speech.

“We’ve gone from one extreme now to the other extreme. We’ve gone from neutrality toward religion to hostility to religion,” Negron, R-Stuart, said.

Some senators of both parties who previoulsy voted against school prayer bills spoke in favor of the measure, including a warning from that the bill may backfire.

Inspirational messages are OK, Sen. Nancy Detert said.

“And when it becomes not OK, when you get little smart-alecky kids who are going to proselytize the Koran…That’s when your school board should shut it down,” Detert, R-Venice, said.

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10 Responses to “Senate passes school prayer bill”

  1. George in sunglasses Says:

    Dara, I think George is trying to impersonate you by wearing sunglasses! Except George seems so serious, at least you cut a smile..

    Regarding your article, since when is it ok to limit free speech by a teacher or administrator? The venom spewed is ok, but not ok if a heartfelt prayer? More double standards it sounds like to me……

  2. Test Pattern Says:

    This is great news! Now the kids can all pray to the almighty Spaghetti Monster!

  3. HM Says:

    “As long as adults aren’t involved”….

    I thought it was SCHOOL? Adults run the place, right? I’d say they were involved.

    Dear Lord Jesus, please grant me a strong and unshakable faith….and not one so shallow, crass and plastic that I have to lie and deceive to pretend I’m honoring You by forcing everyone else to listen to the silly, doubt-filled psychotheraphy that passes for my ‘faith’.

  4. Matt Says:

    I am Jewish. I will not have my son listen to any Christian prayer in school at any time, especially at an assembly that he is required to attend. There will be a Civil Rights lawsuit. Separation of Church and State is Constitutional and should be enforced in Florida as we are still part of the United States of America.


    Keep your Jesus out of the schools!

  6. RightsaidFred Says:

    @Matt and Flamingo
    First off, let me blast the GOP for even thinking that they have the ability in government to ‘grant a right’ to anyone. What they need to do is remove any punishment that might exist in the statute right now, for someone who wants to lead a prayer. A right is a right, and not something given by the government. I know lefties don’t grasp this concept.
    Secondly, the kids have a right to do what they want. If they want to hold a prayer they can do so. It obviously can’t be sponsored by the school or any teachers or admins.
    Your children have the right to leave, make noise or pray if they so choose as well. That’s what our rights as citizens are.
    And lastly since i will probably get flamed, i am an athiest.

  7. FL Resident Says:

    When did the Freedom OF Religion become the Freedom FROM Religion? My understanding is this would be a student initiated and student lead act with no participation or influence from school administrators or personnel. If that is the case, the separation of church and state argument would appear to be null and void.
    As for the first ten amendments to the Constitution, these are not a list of right granted to us by the government rather they are a list of inalienable rights that are shielded from government interference.

  8. Bill D. Says:

    With all of the problems this state should be dealing with our elected representatives are wasting their time on this crap? Pathetic

  9. George in sunglasses Says:

    @Bill D agree 1000%. Government needs to stay out of this because the Separation of church & state is NOT in the constitution! @Matt, read the constitution and maybe you’d know that! To make it easier to those of you who have not read the 1st ammendment here is the text. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Another note, perhaps since it was the 1st ammendment passed, just maybe our founders thought it was extremely important NOT to infringe on citizens right to exercise their religion in society.

  10. Karim Says:

    I think this is great, it will help promote understanding and tolerance.

    My son has already lead his class in reciting a prayer from the koran.

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