Lawmakers in Louisiana may be pushing for greater ties between religious teaching and public-financed schooling, but Florida has opted for its own tack in introducing religion back into public education. This month, the state implemented SB 98, which allows students to read and recite “inspirational message[s]” at all non-compulsory school events, including graduations, assemblies and sports events. Teachers and school officials remain barred from any form of proselytizing - but, according to the new law, they can neither interfere nor direct the students’ speech.
The bill was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott last March, and was passed by overwhelming margins in each chamber of the state legislature. Both House and Senate sponsors of the bill — one Democrat, one Republican — cited protecting students’ First Amendment rights as impetus for the bill.
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