The “Parents Bill of Rights” legislation passed by a Senate committee Monday lists a wide range of rights parents have over their children. Many, like the right to not vaccinate your child and the right to object to educational materials and courses like sex ed are already in state law.
“The bill is covering rights the parents already have, which is why it's unnecessary, except for the additional language,” said Lakey Love with the Florida National Organization for Women.
But LGBTQ groups protested the bill ahead of the hearing, arguing its language is overly broad.
“It's a broad requirement for schools to disclose all records relating to the student and there's no balancing there,” said Jon Harris Maurer with Equality Florida.
Their main concern is the bill could lead to school guidance counselors having to disclose students’ sexual orientation or gender identity to their parents.
“This bill takes away the right of queer and trans kids to even have their own personal identification with themselves, the right they have to tell their parents about their queerness and their transness in their way,” said Delilah Pierre with the Florida Coalition for Trans Liberation.
They also fear it would make it easier for parents to object to nearly anything taught in schools.
“Things like civil rights or LGBTQ rights or anything like even history on the Holocaust,” Maurer said.
The bill also specifies a health care practitioner who provides a medical procedure on a minor without written consent of a parent may be fined up to $1,000 and face one year in prison.
Sen. Kelli Stargel, the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said the intent of this bill is clarity so parents will have a single place in law to see what rights they possess.
“We already have the right to know what’s happening within the course of that day, report cards, progress, disciplinary actions. All this bill is doing is putting it all in one area called ‘Parental Rights.’ It’s not changing what we’re currently doing today,” Stargel said. “Parents already have rights, we’re just making sure that they’re being protected, watched and actually followed."
The bill has just one more committee stop in the Senate and will be heard by its final House committee Tuesday.