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Politics / Issues
Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

DeSantis Signs Bills To Help Military Veterans, Children

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Fresh Take Florida
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One of the bills will help military children better acclimate to changing schools.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Friday at the American Legion Palm Valley post in Ponte Vedra Beach that will create a program designed to help children with guardians in the military acclimate to changing schools.

The bill,HB 429, establishes the Purple Star Campus Program, a Florida Department of Education (DOE) run initiative that promotes school policies meant to make acclimating military children easier. The legislation received bipartisan support, passing unanimously in the House and Senate.  

DeSantis said the program was necessary because military children have to frequently relocate when their guardian’s deployment changes.

“The bill recognizes that, under normal circumstances, a military-connected child can expect to move six to nine times from kindergarten through their high school graduation,” DeSantis said.  

The legislation allows the DOE to designate a school as a “Purple Star Campus” if it meets certain requirements. The requirements for the certification include:  

  • Reserve at least 5% of controlled open enrollment seats for military students.
  • Designate a staff member as a military liaison.
  • Maintain a webpage on the school's website that includes resources for military students and their families.
  • Maintain a student-led transition program that assists military students in transitioning into the school.
  • Offer professional development training opportunities for staff members on issues relating to military students.  

DeSantis also signed two other military-related bills.
The first, SB 922, waives college requirements at some state government jobs for active military members and veterans. HB 435 requires Veterans Florida, a non-profit corporation within the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, to assist in the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program, which prepares service members for civilian employment in the last 180 days of their service.

Both bills also unanimously passed the Florida Legislature.

Tristan Wood can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter at @TristanDWood.

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