PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — On July 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis instituted new policies for schools statewide. If a child has questions about their sexual orientation that require service modifications their parents must be notified.
“It’s about protecting parents’ ability to be involved, and it’s making sure the classroom instruction, particularly at these very young ages, are focused on math, science and reading,” DeSantis said.
If students have any questions about their sexual orientation, Bay District Schools are advising teachers to send the students to guidance counselors. Superintendent Bill Husfelt said teachers should not have those conversations with their students.
Before the school year, Bay District Schools sent videos to staff to prepare them for the school year. One 15-minute video dealt with the parental rights legislation. The video told staff to alert parents if their students have anxiety or are struggling with their sexual orientation.
Counselors must write down any conversations with students and alert parents.
“We have to do things maybe a little more formally,” Surfside Middle School Counselor Kristy Robb said. “Instead of maybe a phone call you might have it in writing on the steps that are happening with your student.”
“It changes some things slightly,” Robb said. “We always try to get the parents involved. The parents are part of that child. And when you look at the whole child, it’s going to be more effective if the parents are involved. So it’s the school’s job to make sure the parents know about what’s happening at the school.”
Robb said the law does not create additional pressure on schools as long as they talk with parents from the beginning.