Historic City News learned that Governor Rick Scott signed SB 98 into law Friday — allowing school districts to implement policies letting students of all grade levels deliver “inspirational messages” at official school assemblies and events.
Although sponsored by a Democrat, Senator Gary Siplin of Orlando, most in his party voted against the bill; while Republicans voted in favor.
The bill does not take effect until July 1, meaning school districts could not adopt policies until after the end of the current school year.
The move brought an immediate response from the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, however, which warned school districts that a lawsuit would follow if any district implemented such a policy.
In a letter to all of Florida’s 67 school districts, the ACLU of Florida declared the law unconstitutional and unnecessary.
“If you adopt Senate Bill 98’s ‘inspirational message’ policy, litigation will be inevitable. The costs of that litigation will not be borne by the Legislature, which is responsible for the creation of this law, but by the school districts themselves, as the Legislature refused to indemnify school boards for litigation costs arising from implementing this law,” the letter reads in part.
Historic City News local reporters have reached out to the St Johns County School District and School Board Chairman, Beverly Slough, for comment.
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News staff photographer