HB 741 should provide for funding and require that sensitivity and civility classes be taught in all schools. If you don’t have a solution, why pass a bill?
Video of the March 21st Florida House of Representatives Education Committee meeting:
Below are some comments made by legislators at the meeting discussing HB 741 that indicate we need civility and sensitivity courses taught in all the schools. Around the 2 hour 6 minute mark in the video, Representative Fine answers a question with words similar to this:
“I don’t know the answer. The bill doesn’t regulate how the issue will be addressed in the schools.”
Later in the meeting, Representative Massullo mentions that discrimination is partly caused by ignorance. Representative Valdes says that she wishes we could change hearts. Representative Daniels mentioned Messianic Judaism. Keep in mind that this bill is trying to address the problem that Representative Fine describes as a growing fever of antisemitism. Shouldn’t Representative Daniels’ remarks regarding Messianic Judaism indicate another example as to why we need classes in sensitivity? I know many people were outraged when Vice President Pence invited a Messianic Jewish Rabbi to give a prayer after the killings at the synagogue. Here is one quote from this article:
The Jewish groups argued that allowing the rabbi, whom they don’t recognize as Jewish, to offer a prayer for victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting sowed religious division at a time when Americans should be standing with Jews.
A statement from the Rabbinical Assembly, a Conservative Jewish group and one of several to object, declared that “so-called ‘Messianic Judaism’ is not a Jewish movement.
In addition to requiring classes in sensitivity, I also wish they’d include the wording of the Do No Harm Act (H.R. 1450) in the bill. Any mention of religious protection should offer a shield against religious bigotry not a sword to attack others.
I do not understand the problem or know the solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I know that some people (including Representative Fine) see the need for this to be included in HB 741:
(b) Examples of anti-Semitism related to Israel include: Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.
In addition to antisemitism, I wish Islamophobia and anti-atheism were specifically mentioned in the bill. There are examples of anti-atheism in this country and the world. Here is how lines 51 to 54 of HB 741 reads now:
A public K-20 educational institution must treat discrimination by students or employees or resulting from institutional policies based on anti-Semitism in an identical manner to discrimination based on race.
There are many groups worried about legislation before our Florida Congress trying to expand taxpayer money to fund unregulated charter and private schools. As it stands now, this bill won’t cover those schools. In my view and in the view of many others, this is a BIG problem. IF religious bigotry is a problem and we’re trying to solve it, then a bill should not only apply to the neighborhood schools, it should also apply to any school receiving local, state, or federal taxpayer money.