Families of Florida school students will now be provided each year with a Parents’ Bill of Rights.
The legislation (HB 241), in the works for several years, has raised concerns among LGBTQ advocacy groups.
But Sen. Ray Rodrigues, an Estero Republican, said the focus of the bill is to bring all parental rights together in a single statute.
The proposal, dubbed a “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” would make clear that state and public schools cannot infringe on the “fundamental rights” of parents to direct the upbringing of their child — extending to decisions about education, health care and mental health.
“What we are doing is putting them in one central location so lay parents can find them,” Rodrigues said.
But several groups expressed fears the legislation would in effect out many children who come out as gay or transgender at school before coming out in their own homes.
“This is a direct attack on transgender and gender-nonconforming Floridians, and the LGBTQ youth in particular,” said Lakey Love of the Florida Coalition for Trans Liberation.
It drew protest from groups like the National PTA and Florida Women’s March.
“It is requiring schools to report all information about students to parents regardless of the climate at home and regardless of consequence that await them there,” said Carrie Feit, of Florida Women’s March.
But bill sponsor Rep. Erin Grall, a Republican, said the focus isn’t on hurting any students, but on making clear parents need all the information about their children, including medical information.
“This bill is about changing the culture, returning the focus to family and empowering the parents and families,” she said.
Under the bill, only a parent could make religious upbringing or health decisions for a child. A parent would have to grant permission for their child to get any type of biometric scan, blood type records or for DNA to be collected. The legislation limits when video can be taken of a child and requires consent from a parent before law enforcement can access education records in most cases.