Breaking News
More () »

Parents, teens and advocacy groups file lawsuit to block 'Parental Rights in Education' law

The suit argues the law is "intentionally broad" and described it as a "law enforcement scheme".

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In a couple of weeks, the kids will be back in the classroom in Duval County.

 August 15 is the first day of school, and it will be the first school year the 'Parental Rights in Education' law will be in effect. 

However, parents, teens and advocacy groups filed a lawsuit on Monday to block the new law. The lawsuit goes after four county school boards, including Duval County Public Schools. 

A couple of weeks ago, the Duval County school board made amendments to its student support services. 

School officials, however, said they're only following the law. 

Tracy Pierce, chief of marketing and public relations for DCPS, said the district "will always take steps necessary to comply with Florida laws." 

To Sam Boyd, an attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, the "Parental Rights in Education" also dubbed as "Don't Say Gay" law by critics, is unconstitutional. 

"The fact they [DCPS] felt the need to do that shows what this law was intended to do. Which was to eliminate support for LGBTQ+ students," Boyd said. "So, if we get a ruling that the law is unconstitutional, that will free up the district to do what you know, we think it knows, it should be doing to protect these kids." 

In the lawsuit, it argues the law "intentionally board" and called it a "law enforcement scheme" while giving parents the power to "sue the school district if they are dissatisfied with its implementation of the law." 

Click here to read the full lawsuit.

Representative Clay Yarborough, who co-sponsored the law when it was HB 1557, sent a statement to First Coast News

"It is wrong for Florida's elementary children to be experimented upon in classrooms and parents deliberately kept in the dark. HB 1557 empowers parents, promotes accountability, and prevents children from being sexualized by those who wish to exploit their innocence." 

First Coast News also reached out to Moms for Liberty in Duval County, to comment on the lawsuit. 

"We do not think it’s unreasonable or unconstitutional to prohibit instruction related to sexual orientation or gender identity when it comes to our kindergartners, first-graders, second-graders, and third-graders. We also believe parents should be informed when a school makes a change in their child’s monitoring or services. We find it shocking that there are groups advocating to teach sexual orientation and gender identity to our youngest students."

"Mentioning the existence of same-sex couples, for example, that's not teaching about sexual orientation," Boyd said in response. "That's just recognizing the fact that it exists in our society." 

Boyd and the others in the lawsuit demand for a jury trial. He's confident a judge will rule in their favor. 

Click here to read the full lawsuit.

RELATED: After amending its student support services, DCPS officials say protecting LGBTQ+ students is still a priority

RELATED: Florida lays out process for parents to handle disputes with school under 'parental rights' law

Before You Leave, Check This Out