Doesn’t Florida Rep. Grall’s HB 241 Violate the Protection of a Student’s Confidentiality When the School Communicates With Parents?

Erin Grall, Florida State Representative, District 54, Vero Beach, Florida.

Excerpt from Section 3. Section 1014.02, Florida Statutes (1)

“The Legislature further finds that important information relating to a minor child should not be withheld, either inadvertently or purposefully, from his or her parent, including information relating to the minor child’s health, well-being, and education, while the minor child is in the custody of the school district. The Legislature further finds it is necessary to establish a consistent mechanism for parents to be notified of information relating to the health and well-being of their minor children.”

LGBTQ advocates say they fear the requirement to notify parents regarding mental health services could prematurely out children as gay or transgender before they’ve chosen to come out to their parents. Children in that scenario may want that information to remain confidential so they can choose when they want to tell their parents.

Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Miami Gardens Democrat and the first gay Senator in the Florida Legislature, expressed concern the bill would violate privileged conversation between students and guidance counselors.

Should the parents be told?

Hannan Adely wrote in New Jersey.com on 9/29/2018 that “The Garden State became the 11th state in the nation this week to issue guidance on transgender students in a move intended to promote a safe and successful learning environment for them.”

“It’s a big deal for transgender students in New Jersey,” said Aaron Potenza, director of programs for Garden State Equality, an advocacy organization for lesbian, gay and transgender people. “This is probably the strongest guidance we’ve seen out of any state.” 

Ms. Adley wrote that “The guidance clarifies that determining gender identity rests with the student and not the parents. It’s a piece that advocacy groups have pushed for, noting that some LGBT students are rejected by their families.”

The Supreme Court has yet to expressly recognize a right protecting against unwanted disclosure of sexual orientation. However, in recent years the Court has expanded the constitutional right to privacy to include the right of autonomy in decision-making and confidentiality of information. As lower court decisions suggest, there is an emerging recognition of privacy rights against unwanted disclosure of sexual orientation, especially in school settings. 

Notifying a parent of a student’s sexual orientation during a disciplinary procedure interferes with the autonomy interest of privacy.

Another issue arising out of HB241 relates to domestic violence. Should a student be slapped around at home and arrive at school with bruises, when questioned, he or she might say they fell. Then the school would call the parent and tell them their student arrived with bruises, creating a situation where there may be mixed messages and the parent would chose retribution.

The last action of HB 241 was on 4/1/2021 / Passed; YEAS 78, NAYS 37.

As similar bill SB 582, has been introduced in the Florida Senate:

“The Legislature further finds that important information relating to a minor child should not be withheld, either inadvertently or purposefully, from his or her parent, including information relating to the minor child’s health, well-being, and education, while the minor child is in the custody of the school district. The Legislature further finds that it is necessary to establish a consistent mechanism for parents to be notified of information relating to the health and well-being of their minor children.”

Recognize the wording?

Our State Senator Debbie Mayfield, District 17, voted in favor to the companion bill. The last action was on the Committee agenda– Rules, 04/06/21.

Perhaps there should be a Student’s Bill of Rights.

State Senator Debbie Mayfield with Donald Trump, Jr.’s girlfriend Kimberly Ann Guilfoyle.

6 thoughts on “Doesn’t Florida Rep. Grall’s HB 241 Violate the Protection of a Student’s Confidentiality When the School Communicates With Parents?

    • It’s a hate bill. Plain and simple. Under a ludicrous disguise of “parental rights” which parents already have. Children are the victims in this bill and their safety is now compromised. Shame on Grall. She doesn’t care about children, she cares about her personal “Christian” beliefs and invoking them on everyone around her.

  1. I do not clearly see the advantages of HB 241. If parents are going to be provided such information, especially in regards to discipline, will parents be informed of the disciplinary punishment another student receives if the parent’s child was a victim of the student disciplined? Currently, school staff refuse to disclose punishments to any student or student’s family of the victim. It’s not all about if a student’s right of privacy is violated but rather if parents will now be provided student information that was not permitted to be disclosed prior to HB 241. “Well-being” is HUGE and should be defined as to the perimeters and boundaries, to what extent of “well being” mandates parental involvement? This will lead to lots of litigation, possibly a claim of negligence for what did the school disclose or not disclose to a parent and what reaction or consequence resulted if the school informed parents or made a decision to not inform parents of a manner. It’s sticky!

    The fight for transgender bathrooms on school campuses was just that and to allow self expression without violating personal rights. So now this too can be considered acceptable? Expect students to drop out of school as a means to maintain their privacy.

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