Parental rights legislation passes second Senate panel

Opponents say it could force schools to out LGBTQ students to parents.

Legislation that spells out the rights of parents to control how their children are educated passed the Senate Education Committee Monday.

Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel sponsored the bill (SB 1634.) It advanced by a narrow majority, with Democratic Sens. Bill Monford and Lori Berman voting no and Republican Sens. David Simmons, Dennis Baxley and Stargel voting yes.

Stargel argues her bill just complies with statutes already in law and clarifies some procedures for parents. But opponents say the language goes beyond what is already in law. Advocates of LGBTQ and reproductive rights say if it’s enacted, it would leave gay, transgender and minority students vulnerable to being outed to their parents and having their histories erased.

Under Stargel’s measure, the bill could limit student access to sex education. It would also give parents rights to information even when their children are in school, positing that “important information relating to a minor child should not be withheld, either inadvertently or purposefully, from his or her parent — including information relating to the minor child’s health, well-being, and education, while the minor child is in the custody of the school district.”

Berman said she’s concerned it gives a parent veto power over any and all instructional material, including the history of the Holocaust, slavery, Hispanic contributions to the U.S., or the Constitution. She said lawmakers have passed rules requiring certain history to be taught in schools.

“And now we’re going to say a parent can opt out?” she said.

Isabel Ruano said she’s concerned the bill makes it easier for parents who are against vaccinations to send their unvaccinated children to school. She is a childhood leukemia survivor and said her immune system was compromised from 12 to 16 years old. She said a child similarly compromised today could get a virus, like measles, from an unvaccinated child and become seriously ill or die.

But Baxley said the state does not and should not decide what is best for children. That is the parents’ right and responsibility.

“These children do not belong to the state,” Baxley said. “These children belong to their families.”

The bill will go next to the Senate Rules Committee. The House companion (HB 1059,) sponsored by Republican Rep. Erin Grall, is scheduled to be heard in its final committee stop Tuesday afternoon.

Sarah Mueller

Sarah Mueller has extensive experience covering public policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010. She began her career covering local government in Texas, Georgia and Colorado. She returned to school in 2016 to earn a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting. Since then, she’s worked in public radio covering state politics in Illinois, Florida and Delaware. If you'd like to contact her, send an email to [email protected].


  • Patricia Yarber

    February 18, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    I will not allow my great grand children be taught the ways and lifestyle of LBGTQ in school. I will not allow my great grand children be taught tbat the school has more athority over there education than their parents. We will be making the decisions on how their life will be shaped. The school can teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, history,if it’s the truth, the rest is optional. I do agree they should learn the Constitution, but not the teachers opinion on how it should be translated.
    Take away the law that requires them to go to school in the first place and you will see how many people will allow you to have access to them at

    • Sammie

      February 19, 2020 at 11:15 am

      Then send them to private school. See how easy that is? But when you send your children to TAX PAYER funded schools, you teach what the Dept of Education tells you to teach. Things like the Holocaust are NOT fictional… neither is Climate Change.

  • Alecta

    February 18, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    Patricia Yarber, I am sorry for your children and grandchildren who have been harmed by your ignorance. Schools need to teach facts, not ignorant fear. Parents should be teaching morality, manners, common sense, and common [sic] decency, but you can’t teach what you don’t know.
    Sex education gives people the tools to make responsible and intelligent decisions.
    Also, news flash: the Constitution was written in Modern English. It shouldn’t need to be translated. I know some of the words are big, but this is why we have dictionaries. Dictionaries help us understand big words as well as spell them properly.

    • Diane

      February 19, 2020 at 11:16 am

      Thank you!

Comments are closed.


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