The Moment of Silence

It may surprise you to learn that only a few hundred of the more than 2,000 bills introduced each year in the Georgia legislature become law. One law that affects every Georgia public school student is the Moment of Quiet Reflection Act. Students at Pointe South Middle School in Jonesboro are seen sitting silently during the moment of quiet reflection. When asked what they are thinking, their answers range from thinking of the day ahead to homework and prayers for friends and family. Georgia Sen. David Scott, author of the reflection bill, explains why he introduced it. When the bill passed the Georgia Senate as a moment of silence and was sent to the House, members amended it to a moment of prayer. The bill went to a conference committee to work out the differences. There was concern that requiring prayer in schools would violate the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The bill was in the conference committee on the last day of the session that ended at 12:00 midnight. Senator Scott was worried it may not come out of committee in time to be passed by both houses. It was changed to a moment of reflection stating that kids could pray if they wanted, and it passed at 11:55 p.m. Sen. Mike Egan discusses the art of compromise in the legislature and how it is necessary for getting things done. Scott, an urban legislator, explains how he will support farm legislation and is helped in turn by rural legislators.

Teacher tip: Discuss the process of compromise in the legislature to get the Moment of Quiet Reflection Act passed. Review what Senator Egan said about compromise and ask students whether they agree or disagree with the process.