Credits: Tampa Bay Times
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From My Point of View
In reading the headline I thought this was ONLY about changing the notice of the disclaimer - but then the details...
First: is the clarification of the word "CONSPICUOUS" related to the posting of the disclaimer which alerts students of their right not to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Second and third: issues deal with wording that clarifies that students excused from reciting the pledge do not have to stand and place their hand over their heart. However, NOTE that the new wording includes language which also EXCLUDES CIVILIANS from the current requirement that they stand during the pledge. ( Does this mean teachers and other civilians who might be in attendance no longer have to stand?)
Please read the following
Northeast High School students say the Pledge of Allegiance at their graduation ceremony last June at Tropicana Field. A proposed bill in the state Legislature would require notice in student handbooks that students do not have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and excused students would not have to stand and place their hand over their heart. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
TALLAHASSEE — A reported overabundance of disclaimer notices in a Florida Panhandle county's public schools that alert students of their right to not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance has prompted bipartisan legislation that earned its first approval in a state House committee on Monday.
The House K-12 Subcommittee endorsed HB 1403 — by Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze — by a 10-0 vote.
Florida law requires the pledge to be recited at the start of every school day in every public school statewide, but students have the right to be excused under a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, as long as they have written permission from a parent.
Schools have to "post a notice in a conspicuous place" to let students know of their right to opt out. The legislation put forth by Broxson — and co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola Beach, and Ed Narain, D-Tampa — would change state law to, instead, require schools to publish the notice in student handbooks.
The bill also clarifies that students excused from reciting the pledge don't have to stand and place their hand over their heart.
Broxson told House members that where a notice is posted in schools became "a major issue" in Santa Rosa County near Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, areas with high populations of military families and an extra sensitivity to respecting the American flag.
He said the Santa Rosa County School District was prompted to require the mandatory notice "in every classroom where the flag appeared," after a parent complained at a School Board meeting with a lawyer present.
"Today as we speak, right before you say the pledge, below that flag is a disclaimer saying you don't have to say the pledge," Broxson said.
"Some people believe we overreacted in Santa Rosa," he added. But under the legislative proposal, "if there's any concern about whether they could say the pledge, it would be dealt with in the handbook."
The House bill has two more committee stops, next before the education budget committee.
The Senate companion — SB 1600 by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker — has yet to receive an initial hearing before the Senate Pre-K-12 Education Committee.
Link to Statute referenced in the Bill:
This is the first part of the Statute which relates to the proposed changes.
1003.44 Patriotic programs; rules.—
THIS IS THE SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED BILL
Note: The actual bill is not currently up on the Florida Government website and therefore we cannot see exact wording..The Summary is all we have to work with.
Now in Education Appropriations Subcommittee -HJ 363
Next Stop will be the Education Committee
Call each of the members of the Education Appropriations Subcommittee below and share your stance on the proposed changes to the existing law as related to the items described above.
I would hit three major points
1. Agree to the moving the disclaimer to the student handbook or code of conduct document.
2. Question why "Excluded" students should not stand with their hand over their heart while the Pledge of Allegiance is being recited by others?
3. Question why CIVILIANS in attendance are being excluded from the current requirement to stand and recite the Pledge.
Fresen, Erik [R] (850) 717-5114 (305) 663-2011
O'Toole, H. Marlene [R] (850) 717-5033 (352) 315-4445
Democratic Ranking Member
Lee, Jr., Larry [D] (850) 717-5084 (772) 595-1391
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I had to read this several times to gain clarity
Please take the time necessary to form your own opinions and then contact committee members to have your voices heard.