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Nanny Senate: Students Would Have to Get Parental Consent Before Seeking Mental Health or Birth Control

| April 11, 2019

Do you have to make? Beverly Goldberg finds friends in the Florida Senate. (ABC)

Do you have to make? Beverly Goldberg finds friends in the Florida Senate. (ABC)

A Senate panel on Wednesday backed a proposal that would require parents to give written consent before minors can get mental-health services or be prescribed birth control at school, a move that Democrats argued will prevent students from seeking treatment.

The creation of the “Parents Bill of Rights” would allow parents to access and review all of their children’s school records. That is designed to ensure parents have the fundamental right to “direct the upbringing, education and care of their children.”

This proposal (SB 1726) would bring some changes to the way students can seek mental-health and reproductive-health services, including counseling and birth control prescriptions.

Sen. Joe Gruters, the sponsor of the bill, said the proposal comes after scenarios in which students have told guidance counselors that they were contemplating suicide, but parents were never told.

“This is to make sure we empower parents and that they are informed of issues going on with their child at school on a daily basis,” Gruters, R-Sarasota, said.

But as the Senate Education Committee approved the bill Wednesday, some Democrats raised concerns about the health-care provision in the bill, arguing that minors may stop independently seeking treatment if they know their parents will find out about it.

Sen. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, said she recognizes parents play an important role in their children’s education but said some aspects of the bill are “very unnecessary.”

“I have a lot of concerns about the bill. I think it could have a very detrimental effect on their medical care,” Berman said. “This bill could affect the ability for a minor to obtain some reproductive health care.”

When it comes to sex education, the bill would also give parents the options to pull their children from such courses if they provide written objections to participation.

Other concerns raised by Democrats were related to children who are in foster care or who want to seek help when they are being sexually abused by parents.

“I think we can all agree that even minors have a fundamental right to some privacy,” Sen. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, said.

Under the bill, a parent would be a person who has legal custody of a minor child. That could be a biological parent, an adoptive parent or a legal guardian.

The “Parents Bill of Rights” would have some exceptions. Children would be able to get medical treatment without parental consent if they need immediate assistance because of serious injuries or risk of dying.

School districts would be required to have plans in place to let parents know about their rights, which would include information about school choice and their rights to exempt children from immunization.

While most Republicans on the Senate panel supported the bill, Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, said he was concerned about a provision that would require superintendents within 10 days to provide information requested by parents. Simmons said it would be difficult for superintendents to comply with the request in that short time.

Sen. Bill Montford, a Tallahassee Democrat who is a former Leon County superintendent, said it would be hard for school districts to meet requirements in the bill.

“I want to get to the point where we are not setting up the school district up for failure, quite frankly,” Montford said.

–Ana Ceballos, News Service of Florida

8 Responses for “Nanny Senate: Students Would Have to Get Parental Consent Before Seeking Mental Health or Birth Control”

  1. palmcoaster says:

    One step forward and three steps back!

  2. John R Brady says:

    These head in the clouds legislators should spend some time in a CPS {Child Protective Service} office. News flash, not all parents are dedicated and concerned for their child’s well being. Some are just wrapped up in their own situation that they have no time to be parents. This also applies to affluent parents involved in bitter custody battles where their own children are collateral damage.

    Another news flash, sometimes children have more sense that the parent

    Have these legislators thought about the unintended consequences of such a law. Another generation of unwanted children. The current generation of children being denied needed mental health treatment because one parent refuses or maybe can not be located in time to give permission.

    Back to the drawing board on this one. The TV Brady Bunch Family went out over 20 years ago. No pun intended here

  3. Nick says:

    Dangerous and ridiculous law. When a kid that is getting beat on at home by a narcissist parent goes for help, they will not get help and they will be further beaten for exposing the abusive parent to ‘shame’. Really backwards….. I’d like to think the Republicans meant well with this one but hard to see the reasoning.. also- birth control leads to less abortions…. weird right?

  4. Steadfastandloyal says:

    Funny- Noone commented on the other article here about senate bill requiring minors get parental approval for abortions? Crickets….

  5. Mark says:

    It takes a village!

  6. Mark says:

    This is what parents are supposed to do. If the parents fail to do the job then get a judge involved

  7. Concerned Citizen says:

    This is a bad decision.

    I am hoping there will be clauses for children dealing with dead beat parents? Often times the schools open a door for kids to escape bad situations.

  8. FlaglerRedo says:

    I love these all these Concerned Citizens that are worried about the protecting children with bad parents. Kids should just be allowed to do what they want, just ask Marion Gavin’s parents and Alex Salgado’s.

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