Senate Bill 582 sparks Controversy between parents

Pictured is Florida’s welcome sign, surrounded by the state’s iconic palm trees. Florida’s 202 Legislature is currently in its 60-day session, so politicians are trying to push out legislation as efficiently as possible.



Hailey Le Roy, Entertainment Editor

   A Florida bill deemed as a “Parent’s Bill of Rights” is an all-encompassing attempt to give parents a greater say in their children’s schooling, from what is taught in the classroom, to the information that can be shared with law enforcement. Sen. Ray Rodrigues is sponsoring the Senate bill, and Rep. Erin Grall sponsored its companion legislation, HB 241.


   One particularly large critique of the bill claims that it will disproportionately target LGBT youth because parents must be informed of any information regarding their child’s mental health. This removed wall of confidentiality may cause youth to stifle any expression of struggle instead of discussing it with trusted adults such as beloved teachers or guidance counselors.


   When asked about this concern, Grall said the bill would not force school employees to tell parents, rather it prevents any official from intimidating a child into keeping information private. Still, LGBT advocates and organizations alike have continued to speak out against it.


   Additionally, SB582 would give parents a greater say in their child’s learning experience, such as opting them out of sex education or withholding them from a controversial lecture. LGBT advocates also claim this may inadvertently harm the LGBT youth, as students may be prevented from accessing sex health information that they may not get at home.


   Supporters of the bill claim that parents are entitled to all information surrounding their child’s health and education, as they deserve to be involved as much as possible in their child’s life. They also say it is their “fundamental right” to have a say in what their child is learning in school.


   Rodriguez says that most of this bill’s contents are already in Florida statute, just scattered. Thus, it would provide an “easy reference” for laws regarding parental rights.


   Grall corroborated this, claiming that there are only a couple allotted parental rights included that cannot be found elsewhere in Florida statuary. Under the bill, school officials would be required to report criminal offenses that take place in school to parents. Additionally, parents would also have to give their approval before a child’s biometric data is stored in any government records.


   The bill was placed on the Senate’s second-reading calendar on April 7, and, if passed, will be effective on July 1.