Four school districts sued over Parental Rights in Education bill enforcement

by | Jul 26, 2022


  • Four Florida school board districts are being sued over the enforcing of the recently-signed Parental Rights in Education bill 
  • The lawsuit argues that the bill oversteps and violates the first amendment rights of students within the districts 
  • The bill, which became law earlier this summer, has been met with several legal challenges 
  • On Monday the state Department of Education published a rule proposal that outlines the structure of complaints against schools or districts

A conglomeration of parents, students, and an organization filed lawsuits against four Florida school districts — Palm Beach, Duval, Orange, and Indian River — over the Parental Rights in Education bill.

The lawsuits contend that the bill violates the first amendment rights, due process, and equal-protection rights of students across the state, as first reported by News Service of Florida. Plaintiffs also claim that the law improperly suspends educational discussion of gender theory and sexual orientation.

“Florida enacted HB 1557 to silence and erase lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people and families,” the lawsuit states. “The law is profoundly vague and requires schools to ban undefined broad categories of speech, based on undefined standards such as ‘appropriateness.”

Upon its signing, the bill triggered responses from both sides of the political aisle. Nikki Fried, a Democrat gubernatorial candidate and current Commissioner of Agriculture stated that should she win election, her top priority will be “to make sure you [The LGBTQ+ student community] are protected, not attacked.”

Meanwhile, Republicans were largely content with the signing, like primary bill sponsor Rep. Joe Harding, who speaking on Twitter said “I stand with you and I see you. I’m sorry that there are people … that want to take away your rights, and sexualize your 6-year-olds.”

The bill, signed into law in March by Gov. Ron DeSantis, states that instruction covering sexual orientation or gender identity “may not occur” in kindergarten through third grade. Teaching material deemed “not age-appropriate or developmentally acceptable” for students in grades outside of the listed range is also liable to lawsuits and state intervention.

The Florida Department of Education on Monday released provisions for a proposed rule as part of the “Parental Rights in Education statute.” The proposal outlines alternative measures that can be taken to resolve a complaint filed by a parent against a school or district.

Under the rule, parents are required to prove that they sought resolution of disputes with school principals before initiating legal hearings on the matter.

The published rule also establishes the roles and responsibilities of the state education commissioner and school districts. According to the proposal, Manny Diaz, Jr., the Education Commissioner, would be in charge of examining all pending requests from parents. The rule also specifies the judicial processes for magistrate hearings.

“The parties or the magistrate may call, examine, and cross-examine witnesses and enter evidence into the record. Witnesses shall be examined under oath,” the proposal states.

 

3 Comments

  1. Joseph Stokes. MD

    The law is designed to not teach aberrant behavior to kindergarden and lower grade pupils. Upper grades are not affected.

    Reply
  2. James W. Dougherty

    A ” conglomeration of parents, students and an organization “. Hmm. The ” conglomeration ” is not identified. Neither is the ” organization “. The usual suspects : probably. These people could care less about education. If they did they would not want gender reassignment crap being taught to primary school kids in the early grades. They also don’t realize that ” substantive ” due process has been rolled back in the Dobbs case . But they love to sue and demand THEIR RIGHTS. The public interest in monitoring what kids are being taught as ” theory ” be damned. Another cluster F—–k by activist lawyers who run on contributions from God knows who.

    Reply
  3. jack nelson

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