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Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to guests during the Scott County Fireside Chat at the Tanglewood Hills Pavilion on December 18, 2023 in Bettendorf, Iowa. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law Thursday empowering schools to create volunteer chaplain programs allowing faith-based support to kids in the Sunshine State while making clear Satanists will not be able to take advantage of them.

HB 931 authorizes local school districts and charter schools to permit volunteer chaplains on school grounds and provide counseling support to students as long as they have written parental consent.

“Faith leaders and civic organizations are important additional resources for students who may be facing challenges or need to build community and camaraderie,” DeSantis said. “I’m pleased to be able to expand the variety of options that students have at their disposal in school and we have no doubt that these options will enhance the experiences of our students.”

“I want to applaud Governor DeSantis for signing House Bill 931,” Republican state Rep. Stan McClain said. “At a time when much of the country is facing a mental health crisis, having volunteer chaplains for K-12 schools is a common-sense solution. We are selling our kids short if we only focus on meeting their intellectual needs but fail to make provision for their spiritual and emotional needs. Once again, Florida and Governor DeSantis lead the nation in a policy change that will make public education better for everyone.”

DeSantis argued that excluding religious groups constituted discrimination and was contrary to America’s founding principles:

Notably, DeSantis added that Florida will not recognize as “religious” representatives’ members of the far-left activist group The Satanic Temple (TST), which has been establishing footholds in schools across the country under the guise of religious nondiscrimination. During the Trump administration, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognized TST as a church, granting it tax-exempt status and strengthening its claims for religious accommodation.

“Some have said that if you do a school chaplain program, that somehow you’re going to have Satanists running around in all our schools,” he said. “We’re not playing those games in Florida. That is not a religion. That is not qualifying to be able to participate in this.”

Throughout his governorship, DeSantis has worked to move education away from ideological proselytization and back toward its classical purpose of cultivating well-rounded future citizens as part of his broader agenda to generally make Florida the place “where woke goes to die,” as he said in his second inaugural address.

He has taken numerous actions to prohibit critical race theory and age-inappropriate sexual discussions from classrooms, help elect like-minded conservatives to local school boards, force compliance with state standards such as keeping restrooms sex specific and replace “‘woke” teaching materials with new curricula designed to cultivate appreciation for America’s founding principles and system of constitutional government.