The Parents' Bill of Rights passes the Florida Senate Education Committee
The Florida Senate Education Committee approved the Declaration of Parental Rights in a party line vote, and Republicans rejected vocal criticism that the legislation would lead to public schools devoid of critical teachings that only a minority of parents consider objectionable .
The measure, SB 1634, has been submitted by Senator Kelli Stargel (Republican of Lakeland), who last week directed her controversial parental abortion consent legislation for Senate approval. Like the parental consent law, the Parental Rights Statement deals with better informing parents about the lives of their children.
Stargel argues that it simply lists the rights already granted to parents under Florida law.
"It is basically being compiled so that parents can get involved with their children, parents know they have the rights and parents have the ability to govern their children the way they feel better compared to the state," he told committee before the vote.
But progressive activists warned that the legislation would have a much greater impact on Florida schools than Stargel has suggested. By including a voluntary exclusion provision whereby parents could withdraw their children from the lessons they disagree with, activists said countless students could omit the state-required teachings on topics such as the Holocaust, history African American and sex education.
They also said they could dissuade students from seeking advice on campus about their sexual identification.
"This bill removes the right to queer and trans children to have even their own personal identification of themselves, the right to have to tell their parents about their strangeness and transness, in their own way, in their terms," said Delilah Pierre, LGBT rights activist. "This bill makes it possible for people to erase LGBTQ history even more."