Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ has signed legislation that seeks to increase parental consent regarding sex education.
The newly signed law alters current measures, which allows parents to opt their child out of sex education and STD lessons by providing a written request to the school. But now, with the legislation (HB 545), parental notification requirements will be strengthened by requiring that school districts inform parents of the curriculum and materials on the district’s website homepage.
The process must be explained to parents, giving them a chance to opt their children out.
St. Pete Beach Republican Rep. Linda Chaney, who filed the bill, originally sought to make sex ed an opt-in process, meaning parents would have to sign a consent form for their children to get that education.
However, the bill was later amended to instead make the process opt-out — garnering more bipartisan approval.
Most Democrats ultimately voted against the measure in the House, where it passed 82-24. The Senate passed the measure 36-4, with four Democrats voting in opposition.
During debate on the House floor, Jacksonville Republican Rep. Clay Yarborough argued much of the sex-ed portion of the sixth grade textbook wouldn’t have been appropriate to show on the floor.
Chaney’s compromise measure didn’t satisfy several parents and groups looking for reform. Multiple organizations such as the Christian Family Coalition and Florida Citizens Alliance originally approved the bill but spoke in opposition during the committee process. Those parents and organizations argued an opt-in clause was necessary to give parents full authority as to whether their children receive instruction on sex education.
The bill also requires school boards to review and approve sex ed materials annually. School districts would also be required to notify parents of those annual meetings where the curriculum will be discussed and approved.
After clearing DeSantis’ desk, the bill will take effect July 1.