TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Along almost straight party lines, the Republican-controlled Florida House on Thursday passed a measure that would spell out a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” in state law.
The bill (HB 241), sponsored by Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, spells out a series of rights for parents on issues related to education and health care.
As an example, the bill includes guidelines for parents to receive information about their children’s education and health care.
“The Legislature … finds 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,” an introductory part of the bill said. Grall said the bill is about empowering parents and families.“
Parents are the first educator and the best educator,” Grall said.
But Democrats raised concerns about how the bill would affect vulnerable children, including LGBTQ youths who might be jeopardized if the information they confide to teachers is provided to parents. Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, said she has heard concerns from constituents about the possibility of LGBTQ youths being “outed” to their parents.
The House voted 78-37 to approve the bill, with Rep. Anika Omphroy, D-Lauderdale Lakes, crossing party lines to vote for the measure. The Senate version (SB 582), sponsored by Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, has cleared two committees and is scheduled to be taken up Tuesday by the Senate Rules Committee.
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