Emmy Griffin / November 16, 2021

Parental Rights Spring to the Forefront in Florida

If you don’t fight for your kids’ best interests, what makes you think the government will?

Children in the public school system are vulnerable to one of the most harmful strategies that the Left employs: usurping the rights of parents to make choices for their kids. This has become a headline in, of all places, Florida. Here are three recent examples.

Several weeks ago, a six-year-old non-verbal girl with Down syndrome came home from school with a mask tied to her face with rope. Apparently, the child kept taking off the mask at school, so the teacher took it into her own hands to ensure the mask rules were adhered to. When the little girl’s father removed the mask, it was filthy, covered in saliva and inhibiting proper breathing. The child, as part of her condition, is at higher risk of seizures due to an enlarged tongue. This, compounded with the stifling mask, posed danger of asphyxiation.

Her father complained, “Why in the world, since the mandate happened back in September and you were going to begin to put this on my child then tie it on my child, would you never pick up the phone and call me and ask me to give me my informed consent?” The answer seems to be that the school personnel around his child cared more about following a mask mandate than the health and safety of his child. This school’s mandate was in defiance of Governor Ron DeSantis’s executive order providing for the right of parents to choose whether or not to mask their kids.

The second example is of a second-grade girl who was suspended from her school 38 times because she would not wear a mask. Again, this school has a mask mandate that is in defiance of Governor DeSantis’s executive order. The little girl really hated wearing masks at school the year before because they made her tired. When she went back to school and the mask rule was reinstated, her parents decided they would not force their daughter to mask up. These parents had the right to choose whether their little girl should mask up anyway, and the defiant school sought to punish her “defiance” by kicking this eight-year-old out of school. She was ostracized from her classmates and missed two months’ worth of school days. The school district finally dropped its mask mandate but the cost was this child’s education.

Thirdly, parents in Leon County are suing their child’s school for meeting with their daughter to discuss their child’s gender identity without her parents’ knowledge or consent. This teenage girl was struggling with gender confusion that, her parents suspected, was brought on by peer pressure. Several friends in the teen’s friend group had come out as different LGBTQ+ identities. Her parents informed the school that they had their daughter in counseling to help treat the gender confusion and were not affirming their daughter’s identity crisis because they “felt it was not in her best interest.”

The school proceeded to do the exact opposite of the parents’ wishes by referring to their daughter by her preferred pronouns and new name, while also giving her options about which bathroom to use or which group to sleep with on an overnight school trip. The gender-confused teen’s mom only found out when her daughter started making comments that clued her in that the school was taking actions against their wishes. The parents flied a lawsuit that says the school violated their right to direct the education and upbringing of their child, which is protected under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

All of these attacks against parental rights are perhaps a surprise in a conservative state such as Florida. It just goes to show that this strategy the public schools use to subvert the will of parents is everywhere. So, parents, continue to be vigilant, because it is not only your right but also your job to ensure the best interests of your child are being met at school.

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