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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title XLVIII
EARLY LEARNING-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1003
PUBLIC K-12 EDUCATION
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F.S. 1003.44
1003.44 Patriotic programs; rules.
(1) Each district school board may adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district, programs of a patriotic nature to encourage greater respect for the government of the United States and its national anthem and flag, subject always to other existing pertinent laws of the United States or of the state. When the national anthem is played, students and all civilians shall stand at attention, men removing the headdress, except when such headdress is worn for religious purposes. The pledge of allegiance to the flag, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” shall be rendered by students standing with the right hand over the heart. The pledge of allegiance to the flag shall be recited at the beginning of the day in each public elementary, middle, and high school in the state. Each student shall be informed by a written notice published in the student handbook or a similar publication pursuant to s. 1006.07(2) that the student has the right not to participate in reciting the pledge. Upon written request by his or her parent, the student must be excused from reciting the pledge, including standing and placing the right hand over his or her heart. When the pledge is given, unexcused students must show full respect to the flag by standing at attention, men removing the headdress, except when such headdress is worn for religious purposes, as provided by Pub. L. ch. 77-435, s. 7, approved June 22, 1942, 56 Stat. 377, as amended by Pub. L. ch. 77-806, 56 Stat. 1074, approved December 22, 1942.
(2) Each district school board may allow any teacher or administrator to read, or to post in a public school building or classroom or at any school-related event, any excerpt or portion of the following historic material: the national motto; the national anthem; the pledge of allegiance; the Constitution of the State of Florida, including the Preamble; the Constitution of the United States, including the Preamble; the Bill of Rights; the Declaration of Independence; the Mayflower Compact; the Emancipation Proclamation; the writings, speeches, documents, and proclamations of the presidents of the United States, the signers of the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence, and civil rights leaders; and decisions of the United States Supreme Court. However, any material that is read, posted, or taught pursuant to this provision may be presented only from a historical perspective and in a nonproselytizing manner. When less than an entire document is used, the excerpt or portion must include as much material as is reasonably necessary to reflect the sentiment of the entire document and avoid expressing statements out of the context in which they were originally made. If the material refers to laws or judicial decisions that have been superseded, the material must be accompanied by a statement indicating that such law or decision is no longer the law of the land. No material shall be selected to advance a particular religious, political, or sectarian purpose. The department shall distribute a copy of this section to each district school board, whereupon each district school superintendent shall distribute a copy to all teachers and administrators.
(3) All public schools in the state are encouraged to coordinate, at all grade levels, instruction related to our nation’s founding fathers with “American Founders’ Month” pursuant to s. 683.1455.
(4) Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, “In God We Trust,” designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.
(5) The hours that a high school student devotes to the Florida Debate Initiative, also known as the Central Florida Debate Initiative, the YMCA Youth and Government program, the American Legion Boys State program, the American Legion Girls State program, or other similar programs approved by the commissioner shall count towards the service work requirement for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
(6) To help families, civic institutions, local communities, district school boards, and charter schools prepare students to be civically responsible and knowledgeable adults, the Department of Education shall:
(a) Develop or approve an integrated civic education curriculum that school districts and charter schools must incorporate as part of regular school work in kindergarten through grade 12. The civic education curriculum must assist students in developing:
1. An understanding of their shared rights and responsibilities as residents of the state and of the founding principles of the United States as described in s. 1003.42(2)(a)-(c).
2. A sense of civic pride and desire to participate regularly with government at the local, state, and federal levels.
3. An understanding of the process for effectively advocating before government bodies and officials.
4. An understanding of the civic-minded expectations, developed by the State Board of Education, of an upright and desirable citizenry that recognizes and accepts responsibility for preserving and defending the blessings of liberty inherited from prior generations and secured by the United States Constitution.
(b) Curate oral history resources to be used along with the civic education curriculum which provide portraits in patriotism based on the personal stories of diverse individuals who demonstrate civic-minded qualities, including first-person accounts of victims of other nations’ governing philosophies who can compare those philosophies with those of the United States. This paragraph may be cited as the “Portraits in Patriotism Act.”
(c) Approve integrated civic education curricula submitted by school districts and charter schools that meet the requirements of this subsection.
History.s. 137, ch. 2002-387; s. 39, ch. 2016-237; s. 17, ch. 2017-116; s. 22, ch. 2018-6; s. 2, ch. 2019-150; s. 2, ch. 2021-158.