The moment of silence is a new implementation that started at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. Every school day, the students of Florida stand in silence for a minute after the Pledge of Allegiance. It is a requirement for all students, and the student body of Palmetto High had received no explanation.
When interviewed about the reasons behind the moment of silence, Mr. Simmons, an assistant Principal at Palmetto High School, explained, “It’s for the Parkland shooting, the Parkland students, in memory of them.” Simmons recalled, “We got an email during this summer.” He provided a quote of the documentation he found in his email, “I have a memo it says, ‘The school district will be joined in other school districts across the state of Florida to honor the victims of the tragedy of Stoneman Douglas High School, the tragedy that occurred on February 14th.’” This document was dated 2019.
Upon further investigation, Simmons had received another email, a few months prior, that talked about the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, passing a bill. The bill that DeSantis passed was regarding the moment of silence, saying principals were required “to provide brief period of silent prayer or meditation;” according to the House Bill 529 from the official Florida Senate website. Although Simmons had received an email saying that this act is for the Parkland shooting, there was a bill that was passed on the same topic, for different reasons.
Students are blinded to the purpose of the moment of silence, too.
Kristin Francis, a junior at Palmetto High School, recognized the lack of communication between the reasons behind the moment of silence and confusing statements. Kristin claimed, “None of us are ever going to be on the same page as one another.” She stressed the necessity of needing to have a proper reason for this order, “Having an acceptable understanding of others is important because we all do not know why we stand.”
Kristin isn’t the only student who wants an explanation.
Joanna Adorno, a senior at Palmetto High School, is skeptical of the intentions behind this, considering there was no clear explanation. She stated, “I believe it wasn’t confusion, more of a cover story to try to make students still pledge to the allegiance.”
Students believe they deserve an actual explanation for why they do what they do every morning, and should also know why the reason was swept under the rug.