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DeSantis Signs Military Child School Program Bill In Ponte Vedra Beach

File photo of Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at the Florida Capitol on April 30, 2021.
Wilfredo Lee
File photo of Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at the Florida Capitol on April 30, 2021.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Friday at the American Legion Palm Valley post in Ponte Vedra Beach that will create a program designed to help children with guardians in the military acclimate to changing schools.

The bill, HB 429, establishes the Purple Star Campus Program, a Florida Department of Education (DOE) run initiative that promotes school policies meant to make acclimating military children easier. The legislation received bipartisan support, passing unanimously in the House and Senate.


DeSantis said the program was necessary because military children have to frequently relocate when their guardian’s deployment changes.

“The bill recognizes that, under normal circumstances, a military-connected child can expect to move six to nine times from kindergarten through their high school graduation,” DeSantis said.


The legislation allows the DOE to designate a school as a “Purple Star Campus” if it meets certain requirements. The requirements for the certification include:


  • Reserve at least 5% of controlled open enrollment seats for military students.

  • Designate a staff member as a military liaison.

  • Maintain a webpage on the school's website that includes resources for military students and their families.

  • Maintain a student-led transition program that assists military students in transitioning into the school.

  • Offer professional development training opportunities for staff members on issues relating to military students.

DeSantis also signed two other military-related bills.


The first, SB 922, waives college requirements at some state government jobs for active military members and veterans. HB 435 requires Veterans Florida, a non-profit corporation within the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, to assist in the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program, which prepares service members for civilian employment in the last 180 days of their service.


Both bills also unanimously passed the Florida Legislature.

Tristan Wood can be reached at or on Twitter at @TristanDWood.

Tristan is WJCT’s 2021 Summer Reporting Intern. He has previously worked as the City and County Commission reporter for the Independent Florida Alligator, Gainesville’s student-run newspaper, and Fresh Take Florida, a news service working in partnership with the Associated Press to cover the Florida Legislature and select political news stories across the state.