Florida Senate - 2015 SB 352 By Senator Flores 37-00637-15 2015352__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to American Founders’ Month; providing 3 a short title; creating s. 683.1455, F.S.; designating 4 the month of September as “American Founders’ Month”; 5 authorizing the Governor to annually issue a 6 proclamation designating the month and urging 7 participation; amending s. 1003.44, F.S.; requiring 8 district school boards to celebrate the American 9 Founders and the principles inherent in the country’s 10 founding documents by observing American Founders’ 11 Month; providing guidelines for instruction; providing 12 that instruction may be integrated into the existing 13 school curriculum; providing an effective date. 14 15 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 16 17 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “American Founders’ 18 Month Act.” 19 Section 2. Section 683.1455, Florida Statutes, is created 20 to read: 21 683.1455 American Founders’ Month.— 22 (1) The month of September of each year is designated as 23 “American Founders’ Month.” 24 (2) The Governor may annually issue a proclamation 25 designating the month of September as “American Founders’ Month” 26 and urging all civic, fraternal, and religious organizations and 27 public and private educational institutions to recognize and 28 observe this occasion through appropriate programs, meetings, 29 services, or celebrations in which state, county, and local 30 governmental officials are invited to participate. 31 Section 3. Subsection (2) of section 1003.44, Florida 32 Statutes, is amended, and subsections (3) and (4) are added to 33 that section, to read: 34 1003.44 Patriotic programs; rules.— 35 (2) Each district school board may allow any teacher or 36 administrator to read, or to post in a public school building or 37 classroom or at any school-related event, any excerpt or portion 38 of the following historic material: the national motto; the 39 national anthem; the pledge of allegiance; the Constitution of 40 the State of Florida, including the Preamble; the Constitution 41 of the United States, including the Preamble; the Bill of 42 Rights; the Declaration of Independence; the Mayflower Compact; 43 the Emancipation Proclamation; the writings, speeches, 44 documents, and proclamations of the presidents of the United 45 States, the signers of the Constitution of the United States and 46 the Declaration of Independence, and civil rights leaders; and 47 decisions of the United States Supreme Court. However, any 48 material that is read, posted, or taught pursuant to this 49 provision may be presented only from a historical perspective 50 and in a nonproselytizing manner. When less than an entire 51 document is used, the excerpt or portion must include as much 52 material as is reasonably necessary to reflect the sentiment of 53 the entire document and avoid expressing statements out of the 54 context in which they were originally made. If the material 55 refers to laws or judicial decisions that have been superseded, 56 the material must be accompanied by a statement indicating that 57 such law or decision is no longer the law of the land. No 58 material shall be selected to advance a particular religious, 59 political, or sectarian purpose.
The department shall distribute60 a copy of this section to each district school board, whereupon61 each district school superintendent shall distribute a copy to62 all teachers and administrators.63 (3)(a) Each district school board shall celebrate the 64 American Founders and the principles inherent in this country’s 65 founding documents by observing American Founders’ Month in 66 September of each year as provided in s. 683.1455. This month 67 may be coordinated with Celebrate Freedom Week, which is 68 observed pursuant to s. 1003.421. 69 (b) During American Founders’ Month, students may be 70 provided instruction that focuses on: 71 1. The leading figures present at the country’s founding, 72 including those who were instrumental in crafting the founding 73 documents that institutionalized individual liberty and 74 representative government that derives its power from the 75 consent of the governed. 76 2. The moral and civic virtue, self-sacrifice, intellectual 77 genius, and patriotism demonstrated by the country’s founding 78 fathers. 79 3. The founding documents, including, but not limited to, 80 the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United 81 States, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers. 82 4. The historical and philosophical importance of the 83 Declaration of Independence with its emphasis that all people 84 “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, 85 that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of 86 Happiness.” 87 5. The principles inherent in the founding documents, 88 including, but not limited to, individual freedom, equality, 89 representative government, a free market system, civic virtue, 90 natural law, and self-evident truth. 91 (c) The instruction may be integrated into the existing 92 school curriculum through methods including, but not limited to, 93 supplementing lesson plans, holding school assemblies, or 94 providing school-related activities. 95 (4) The department shall distribute a copy of this section 96 to each district school board, whereupon each district school 97 superintendent shall distribute a copy to all school 98 administrators and instructional personnel at the beginning of 99 each school year. 100 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.