Yesterday Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law HB 241, the so-called “Parent’s Bill of Rights,” sponsored by Representative Erin Grall and Senator Ray Rodrigues. Since the bill’s first introduction three years ago, Equality Florida has worked to ensure the legislation would uphold the privacy and safety interests of LGBTQ youth.
Equality Florida released the following statement:
“The LGBTQ community values parents’ rights, including the rights of LGBTQ parents and parents of LGBTQ youth,” said Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer.
“Throughout the legislative process we have reminded lawmakers that, while we wish this weren’t so, not all families are supportive and not all families are safe. This can be especially true for LGBTQ youth. School districts and education professionals are often first responders for gay and transgender youth experiencing rejection or trauma at home. This session the bill sponsors of Florida’s ‘Parents Rights Bill’ affirmed repeatedly that the bill does nothing to change current law related to disclosure of a students sexual orientation or gender identity. We applaud the work school districts do everyday to to ensure parents are centered in critical decisions while balancing the need to protect our most at-risk youth.
Equality Florida will be watching implementation of this legislation closely. Despite what some proponents of the bill proport, bill sponsors asserted many times that the ‘Parents Bill of Rights does not create new responsibilities for teachers and counselors to notify potentially hostile parents when they learn that a child is gay or transgender. We agree and we will hold them to their word.”
Discussion of Florida’s ‘Parents Bills of Rights’ is available publicly here:
- House Health & Human Services Committee – March 2, 2021
- 19:50 – 22:00
- Rep. Erin Grall, regarding LGBTQ youth coming out at school: “There is no mandatory requirement that a teacher report to the parents this information” … “There is no mandatory reporting provision to the parent if a teacher becomes aware of that information.”
- 23:00 – 24:08
- Rep. Erin Grall, regarding LGBTQ youth coming out at school: “This bill does not mandate them to tell the parent; it does however not allow them to coerce or intimidate a child to keep something from their parents.”
- 19:50 – 22:00
- Senate Education Committee – March 23, 2021
- Senator Ray Rodrigues: “The way I understand it is, in our bill, we’re taking what exists in statute and bringing it over and creating a new statute. So if they don’t have to disclose now, they will not have to disclose if this bill is adopted. If they do have to disclose now, this bill would not preclude that disclosure if adopted.” … “There is nothing in this statute that requires an affirmative notification from a guidance counselor to a parent. There is nothing that could be shared with a student to a guidance counsel that would require the counselor to contact a parent.”
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s LGBTQ community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. www.equalityflorida.org