Parental Bill of Rights Legislation Heads to DeSantis’ Desk


The Florida Legislature passed a bill instituting a “parental bill of rights” and sent it to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis.

The bill, HB 241, worked its way through the Florida House and then passed through the Florida Senate on Thursday. It was passed on a nearly party-line vote, with Sen. Lauren Book (D-32), the lone Democrat, siding with Republicans and voting to approve the bill.

The bill would bring clarity and enshrine parents’ rights to direct the upbringing of their child, including giving the parents greater access to keep their children from getting vaccinated as well as keeping their children from being exposed to sex education in school.

“Currently, parental rights are spread throughout the Florida statute, which is literally tens of thousands of pages,” said Sen. Ray Rodrigues (R-27). “If you’re not an expert and know how to navigate that it can be difficult to find exactly all of the rights that are enumerated to parents. We fixed that now. We have one section where they’re easily found.”

As it currently reads, a parent can only cite a religious or health reason for making a health decision for their child. Also, parents would be allowed to review school records on their child or children and the school would be required to notify parents in certain circumstances.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) stood opposed to the bill saying it is a civil rights issue and the bill provided no direct protections for children in abusive homes.

“We cannot allow this bill to become law in Florida,” said Carrie Boyd of the SPLC. “We have to continue to protect our youth. This is a civil rights issue that affects all of us.”

LGBTQ groups also took issue with the bill because of the requirement for schools to notify parents of mental health updates as it could potentially out children before they have come out to their parents.

“And young people who are struggling with their self-identity will know there is no safe adult in their schools,” said Rev. Russell Meyer from the Florida Council of Churches.

Rodrigues continued to argue the health of a child belongs to the parents, not to a school employee, like a guidance counselor.

“A school guidance counselor is not a health care practitioner,” said Rodrigues. “Any child at any school can go see their school guidance counselor without specific prior authorization.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips. 










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