Florida House gives approval to moment of silence

The Florida House overwhelmingly approved a proposal Wednesday that would require public schools to hold moments of silence at the beginning of each school day.

House members voted 96-20 to approve the measure (HB 737), sponsored by Rep. Kimberly Daniels, D-Jacksonville. The Senate version (SB 946), sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, has cleared its committees and awaits action by the full Senate.

State law currently gives school districts the option to set aside time for students to silently pray or meditate at the start of the school day or once a week. But it is not a requirement. 

Rep. Delores Hogan Johnson, D-Fort Pierce, said the measure would give children an opportunity to reflect.

“Just take some time. You’re here. You’re safe here. Just contemplate your day and how you want to see things. … Too much is going on now with young children, and we must give every opportunity for the learning environment to teach about caring and self-reflection,” she said.

But Rep. Joe Geller, an Aventura Democrat who opposed the bill, said it is unnecessary because moments of silence are already allowed. “Any district that wants to have it just has to vote to do it,” Geller said.