School Districts Are Ignoring Florida's School Prayer Law

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, July 11, 2012

While Florida's controversial school prayer bill officially took effect on Sunday, both supporters and opponents of the "inspirational message" legislation have acknowledged the law is primarily a political bill aimed at boosting Republican candidates ahead of the November elections and is unlikely to actually be implemented by school districts.

The measure, signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in March, allows for student prayer at mandatory school events. Specifically the legislation, known as SB 98, allows students to read and recite "inspirational message[s]" at those events, which include graduations, assemblies and sports events.

Although teachers and school officials are barred from any form of proselytizing and the word "prayer" is not included in the bill's language, opponents say the intent of the legislation, legalizing some form of religious prayer and instruction in public schools, is clear.

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