1003.42 Required instruction.—
1. Each district school board shall provide all courses required for middle grades promotion, high school graduation, and appropriate instruction designed to ensure that students meet State Board of Education adopted standards in the following subject areas: reading and other language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign languages, health and physical education, and the arts. The state board must remove a middle grades course in the Course Code Directory that does not fully integrate all appropriate curricular content required by s. 1003.41 and may approve a new course only if it meets the required curricular content.
2. Members of the instructional staff of the public schools, subject to the rules of the State Board of Education and the district school board, shall teach efficiently and faithfully, using the books and materials required that meet the highest standards for professionalism and historical accuracy, following the prescribed courses of study, and employing approved methods of instruction, the following:
a. The history and content of the Declaration of Independence, including national sovereignty, natural law, self-evident truth, equality of all persons, limited government, popular sovereignty, and inalienable rights of life, liberty, and property, and how they form the philosophical foundation of our government.
b. The history, meaning, significance, and effect of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States and amendments thereto, with emphasis on each of the 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights and how the constitution provides the structure of our government.
c. The arguments in support of adopting our republican form of government, as they are embodied in the most important of the Federalist Papers.
d. Flag education, including proper flag display and flag salute.
e. The elements of civil government, including the primary functions of and interrelationships between the Federal Government, the state, and its counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts.
f. The history of the United States, including the period of discovery, early colonies, the War for Independence, the Civil War, the expansion of the United States to its present boundaries, the world wars, and the civil rights movement to the present. American history shall be viewed as factual, not as constructed, shall be viewed as knowable, teachable, and testable, and shall be defined as the creation of a new nation based largely on the universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.
g. The history of the Holocaust (1933-1945), the systematic, planned annihilation of European Jews and other groups by Nazi Germany, a watershed event in the history of humanity, to be taught in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions.
h. The history of African Americans, including the history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition, and the contributions of African Americans to society. Instructional materials shall include the contributions of African Americans to American society.
i. The elementary principles of agriculture.
j. The true effects of all alcoholic and intoxicating liquors and beverages and narcotics upon the human body and mind.
k. Kindness to animals.
l. The history of the state.
m. The conservation of natural resources.
n. Comprehensive health education that addresses concepts of community health; consumer health; environmental health; family life, including an awareness of the benefits of sexual abstinence as the expected standard and the consequences of teenage pregnancy; mental and emotional health; injury prevention and safety; Internet safety; nutrition; personal health; prevention and control of disease; and substance use and abuse. The health education curriculum for students in grades 7 through 12 shall include a teen dating violence and abuse component that includes, but is not limited to, the definition of dating violence and abuse, the warning signs of dating violence and abusive behavior, the characteristics of healthy relationships, measures to prevent and stop dating violence and abuse, and community resources available to victims of dating violence and abuse.
o. Such additional materials, subjects, courses, or fields in such grades as are prescribed by law or by rules of the State Board of Education and the district school board in fulfilling the requirements of law.
p. The study of Hispanic contributions to the United States.
q. The study of women’s contributions to the United States.
r. The nature and importance of free enterprise to the United States economy.
s. A character development program in the elementary schools, similar to Character First or Character Counts, which is secular in nature. Beginning in school year 2004-2005, the character development program shall be required in kindergarten through grade 12. Each district school board shall develop or adopt a curriculum for the character development program that shall be submitted to the department for approval. The character development curriculum shall stress the qualities of patriotism; responsibility; citizenship; kindness; respect for authority, life, liberty, and personal property; honesty; charity; self-control; racial, ethnic, and religious tolerance; and cooperation. The character development curriculum for grades 9 through 12 shall, at a minimum, include instruction on developing leadership skills, interpersonal skills, organization skills, and research skills; creating a resume; developing and practicing the skills necessary for employment interviews; conflict resolution, workplace ethics, and workplace law; managing stress and expectations; and developing skills that enable students to become more resilient and self-motivated.
t. In order to encourage patriotism, the sacrifices that veterans and Medal of Honor recipients have made in serving our country and protecting democratic values worldwide. Such instruction must occur on or before Medal of Honor Day, Veterans’ Day, and Memorial Day. Members of the instructional staff are encouraged to use the assistance of local veterans and Medal of Honor recipients when practicable.
The State Board of Education is encouraged to adopt standards and pursue assessment of the requirements of this subsection. A character development program that incorporates the values of the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor and that is offered as part of a social studies, English Language Arts, or other schoolwide character building and veteran awareness initiative meets the requirements of paragraphs (s) and (t).
3. Any student whose parent makes written request to the school principal shall be exempted from the teaching of reproductive health or any disease, including HIV/AIDS, its symptoms, development, and treatment. A student so exempted may not be penalized by reason of that exemption. Course descriptions for comprehensive health education shall not interfere with the local determination of appropriate curriculum which reflects local values and concerns.
History.—s. 131, ch. 2002-387; s. 22, ch. 2006-74; s. 13, ch. 2010-154; s. 1, ch. 2010-217; s. 14, ch. 2011-220; s. 3, ch. 2014-184; s. 1, ch. 2016-141; s. 53, ch. 2017-3; s. 51, ch. 2018-7.
1003.421 Recitation of the Declaration of Independence.—
1. To educate students about the sacrifices made for freedom in the founding of this country and the values on which this country was founded, the last full week of classes in September shall be recognized in public schools as Celebrate Freedom Week. Celebrate Freedom Week must include at least 3 hours of appropriate instruction in each social studies class, as determined by each school district, which instruction shall include an in-depth study of the intent, meaning, and importance of the Declaration of Independence.
2. To emphasize the importance of this week, at the beginning of each school day or in homeroom, during the last full week of September, public school principals and teachers shall conduct an oral recitation by students of the following words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
3. Student recitation of this statement shall serve to reaffirm the American ideals of individual liberty.
4. Upon written request by a student’s parent, the student must be excused from the recitation of the Declaration of Independence.
History.—s. 1, ch. 2002-213.
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.
History.—s. 137, ch. 2002-387; s. 39, ch. 2016-237; s. 17, ch. 2017-116; s. 22, ch. 2018-6.
1 Note.—Section 49, ch. 2018-6, provides that:
1. The Department of Revenue is authorized, and all conditions are deemed to be met, to adopt emergency rules pursuant to s. 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, for the purpose of administering the provisions of this act.
2. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, emergency rules adopted pursuant to subsection (1) are effective for 6 months after adoption and may be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt permanent rules addressing the subject of the emergency rules.
3. This section shall take effect upon this act becoming a law and shall expire January 1, 2022.”
1003.45 Permitting study of the Bible and religion; permitting brief meditation period.—
1. The district school board may install in the public schools in the district a secular program of education including, but not limited to, an objective study of the Bible and of religion.
2. The district school board may provide that a brief period, not to exceed 2 minutes, for the purpose of silent prayer or meditation be set aside at the start of each school day or each school week in the public schools in the district.
History.—s. 138, ch. 2002-387.