We found this in the Destin Log of Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Their headline is Florida Senate panel backs ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights,′ requires schools to share information, and they have a comments feature — with no comments yet. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
A Senate panel on Monday narrowly backed a proposal to allow parents to keep their children out of class on days when subjects they may disagree with are taught — including evolution [Are you surprised?], sex education and human influence on climate. The bill (SB 1634) — filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland — cleared the Senate Education Committee on a party-line 3-2 vote. It has one more committee to go before it can be debated on the Senate floor.
Here’s the bill’s info at the Florida Senate’s website: 1634: Parental Rights. It was introduced on 09 January, passed by the Judiciary Committee on 04 February, and then passed by the Education Committee on 17 February. Here’s the bill’s text. M’god — it’s 11 pages long! Let’s get back to the news story, which says:
Stargel [the bill’s sponsor] told the panel her bill will ensure parents have a fundamental right to “direct the upbringing, education and care of their children. There’s this impression out there if a parent isn’t parenting in a way that somebody believes they should, (then) they should be removed and replaced by the state,” Stargel said. She argued, however, that the bill does not accord parents’ any rights they don’t already have. Rather, it requires those rights be spelled out in state law, especially by school districts.
Here’s Stargel’s page at the Senate’s website: Senator Kelli Stargel. Her occupation is “Investment Property Manager,” and her husband is a judge. She’s a member of the Heritage Baptist Church. Okay, back to the newspaper, which tells us:
Groups like Focus on Family, Florida Right to Life and the Florida Freedom Alliance said the measure clarifies the law, saying in one place what rights parents have and what to expect when the government interacts with their children. Opponents countered that the bill is too broad and overreaches to the point where it could pose problems for students wrestling with their sexuality or have to deal with abusive parents.
This situation is one big mess, but we’ll stay with it. The news continues:
The bill contains a legislative finding that it is a fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their child. It also establishes procedures for parents to be notified of information regarding the health and well-being of a student. And it requires school districts to develop a process for withdrawing the child from the classroom when course material is used that parents think “may be based on beliefs regarding morality, sex and religion or the belief that the materials … are harmful.”
This seems to authorize the parents to micro-manage the contents of every course, and decide which lessons their kids will skip. Let’s read on:
Stargel, in her closing statement, said all she was trying to do was clarify what rights parents have and establish procedures to safeguard what they think are in their child’s best interest. “This bill is not a huge departure from what we have in law,” she said. “It is basically compiling together (in law) for the parents to be involved with their children, that parents know they have rights, and parents have the ability to govern their children in a way they feel is best.”
Here’s one last excerpt:
A House companion is scheduled for debate in the Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
They don’t give a number for the House bill, so we can’t link to the thing, and that’s all we know so far. Oh, the Florida legislature convened on 14 January and they’re scheduled to adjourn on 13 March. There’s not much time left, but anything can happen, so stay tuned to this blog!
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