A measure that would permit students to read “inspirational messages"—including prayers—at student assemblies has cleared the Florida legislature and been sent to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott.
Opponents of the legislation appear ready to fight it.
The bill says that school districts can allow the student-led messages at assemblies, and that students are to be given the sole right to determine whether to offer a message, its content, and which student delivers it. District officials are barred from trying to shape the message or who reads it, the legislation says.
The measure is designed to “provide students with the opportunity for formal or ceremonious observance of an occasion or event,” the measure states.
It cleared the state House this month, a month after it passed the Senate. The bill attracted bipartisan support in the GOP-led legislature.
The Miami Herald reported that Gov. Scott, a Republican, has said he will sign it.
The Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement that if districts took legislators up on what the measure permits, it would “trigger a landslide of litigation.”
A version of this article appeared in the March 14, 2012 edition of Education Week as Fla. Bill Could Allow Prayer in Schools