Govt. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Friday in Daytona Beach limiting the terms of school board members and giving parents more say in textbooks used in classrooms.
Addressing an audience of conservative-leaning parents and activists at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, DeSantis said the bill was “probably the strongest curriculum transparency legislation in the country.”
The bill, HB 1467, establishes 12-year term limits for school board members. It also requires committee meetings reviewing educational materials to be noticed and open to the public and requires training for those committee members on how to select “quality, age-appropriate books,” according to a legislative analysis.
New bill requires schools to allow public inspection of school materials
The bill responds to concerns some parents have raised about materials they believe their children should not see, including books exposing them to issues related to sexuality.
“Parents want an education for their children. They’re not interested in indoctrination in the school system,” DeSantis said.
The bill also requires schools to provide access to all documents for public inspection and to publish a list of all documents available to students.
“So if it’s something that’s going to be used, then it would be something that a parent would have the right to understand and know what’s going on there,” DeSantis said. “It also gives parents the opportunity to look into that.”
Two parents, including Rebecca Sarwi of Port Orange, spoke at the event.
Sarwi, a member of Moms for Liberty, said she pulled her children out of public schools in Volusia County to be homeschooled after they began to pay more attention to them during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first time she attended a Volusia County school board meeting, she and other parents were raped for refusing to wear a mask, as was the requirement.
“This bill is so necessary because that’s what we talked about at recent school board meetings, transparency,” she said.
DeSantis said he supports term limits, but also noted that voters can have a say.
“You can throw the bums in the election,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ve done school board races before, but we’ll be involved this year.”
The signing of the bill featured elements of a political rally, as the public applauded his entry and waved signs reading “Year of Parent”. One parent wore a t-shirt that read: ‘I’m not co-parenting with the government’.
In attendance were Volusia County School Board member Jamie Haynes, along with other school board candidates.
DeSantis asked no questions.
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