Q&A Of The Day – What’s In Florida’s Parental Bill Of Rights? Part 2
Bottom Line: The Parent’s Bill of Rights is 12 pages in total which makes it rather straight forward as far as legislation goes. As it pertains to the school mask debate, it’s Section 5 (on page four), which speaks the most clearly to the issue. It states:
- All parental rights are reserved to the parent of a minor child in this state without obstruction or interference from the state, any of its political subdivisions, any other governmental entity, or any other institution, including, but not limited to, all of the following rights of a parent of a minor child in this state:
- (a) The right to direct the education and care of his or her minor child.
- (b) The right to direct the upbringing and the moral or religious training of his or her minor child.
- (c) The right, pursuant to s. 1002.20(2)(b) and (6), to apply to enroll his or her minor child in a public school or, as an alternative to public education, a private school, including a religious school, a home education program, or other available options, as authorized by law.
- (d) The right, pursuant to s. 1002.20(13), to access and review all school records relating to his or her minor child.(e) The right to make health care decisions for his or her minor child, unless otherwise prohibited by law.
The first argument which may be made asserting school districts mandating masks are violating the Parental Bill of Rights, is within this context. The law states that a parent has the right to enroll in a public or private school and to make healthcare decisions for their child. That’s a key distinction and it makes a potentially complex legal question simpler to consider. It really just comes down to this. Is the wearing of a mask a “healthcare decision”? If it is, school mask mandates are illegal. If it’s not, they’re legal in the context of this law.
Now, here’s the rub for parents who want to apply the Parental Bill of Rights to the school mask mandate argument. While the state has referenced this law as part of their defense of Governor DeSantis’s executive order and the Florida Board of Education’s rule mandating parental choice, this law isn’t the issue specifically before the court. The court is determining whether the EO and Board of Ed rule are legal. Should Judge John Cooper side with the school boards who’ve imposed mask mandates, it would be incumbent on parents to sue school districts citing the Parental Bill of Rights to establish that masks are indeed a healthcare decision and thus a violation of state law. The level of parental engagement I’ve seen from the CRT debate to school mask mandates, is the greatest I’ve covered in my 23+ years. That’s great news. Keep it coming.