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School prayer bill approved by Senate, heads to House

The Senate has approved a bill that would allow prayer at public school events. Lynn Hatter reports the bill cleared the chamber on a 31-to-8 vote.

Under Senate Bill 98 school boards are directed to lay out guidelines for when and how students in public schools could give “inspirational messages” at school events. Groups like the ACLU of Florida are against the bill, saying it’s unconstitutional. But the bill sponsor Senator Gary Siplin of Orlando says his proposal doesn’t force any group—the student or the school—to do anything they don’t want to do.

“If the school board doesn’t adopt it, it has no application. And I’m not making them adopt it. If you vote on this bill you are not compelling them to adopt it, its local control.”

A similar measure in the house by Republican Representative Charles Van Zant has not been scheduled for any committee hearings.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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