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

DeSantis Signs Bill Requiring Moment For School Prayer

Ron DeSantis
Wilfredo Lee
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis waves as he arrives Monday, June 14, 2021, at the Shul of Bal Harbour, a Jewish community center in Surfside, Fla. DeSantis visited the South Florida temple to denounce anti-Semitism and stand with Israel, while signing a bill into law that would require public schools in his state to set aside moments of silence for children to meditate or pray.

DeSantis said it allows students "to reflect and to be able to pray as they see fit.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law that would require public schools in his state to hold at least one minute of silence to allow students to meditate or pray.

The state joins more than a dozen others in compelling schools to do so.

Florida had already given schools the option of setting aside time for prayer and meditation.

"We think it’s something that is important to be able to provide each student the ability, every day, to reflect and to be able to pray as they see fit,” DeSantis said.

The governor signed the bill at a South Florida Jewish temple, where he denounced anti-Semitism and stood with Israel. His visit to the Shul of Bal Harbour had the air of a campaign rally.

During the 2021 legislative session, opponents including State Sen. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, argued that mandating a moment of silence in public schools blurs the line between church and state.

“There can be unintended consequences of students who are going to be in situations where they can’t leave, and yet they are vulnerable and ostracized for not participating,” Berman said.

Moments after DeSantis began speaking, authorities forcibly removed a heckler from the hall.

Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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