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EXPLAINER: What is the Parent's Bill of Rights?

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Posted at 3:19 AM, Sep 04, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Parents Bill of Rights is a new law in Florida signed July 1, 2021.

By definition, it does three things: gives parental rights relating to a minor child's education, upbringing, and health care.

In the court case over mask mandates in Florida, a question asked was when do one parent's rights interfere with another parent's rights?

Judge John Cooper argues wearing a mask is not a personal decision that the parental bill of rights protections.

According to the CDC, wearing a mask helps protect those around you.

"Not wearing a mask is not about your child at all," Bacardi Jackson, Managing Attorney Southern Poverty Law Center, said. "It's about the health and well-being of other people's children, and while you say that you may have a right, that right has to stop where my rights begin."

According to the Parents Bill of Rights, the state, its political subdivisions, other governmental entities, or other institutions may not infringe on parental rights without demonstrating specified information.

The prosecution argues demonstrating specified information could mean public health in the interest of the state.

"In this case, masks are not mentioned in the parent's bill of rights," Evian White De Leon, Senior Staff Attorney with Southern Poverty Law Center, said. "A court found last Friday that masks do serve a very compelling state interest that is very narrowly tailored to protect children in schools."

In Judge Cooper's findings on the case, he states, "the Parent's Bill of Rights permits local school boards to enact policies related to health care and education, including mask mandates."

The Governor has appealed the judge's ruling that the governor exceeded his authority, but last week's decision did give Florida's 67 school boards the power to impose a student mask mandate.