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Parental Rights in OCPS

The School Board of Orange County, Florida is committed to honoring the rights of parents/legal guardians and promoting their involvement in the District. The School Board recognizes the fundamental rights of parents/legal guardians to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their minor children.  To that end, the School Board has adopted the following policy: Policy KB Parent Involvement in Education. This webpage also contains a list of important information relating to the promotion of parental involvement in the schools. 

Parents’ Bill of Rights (HB 241) (2021) and Parental Rights in Education (HB 1557) (2022)

In 2021, the Legislature enacted HB 241, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, codified in Chapter 1014, F.S. It provides that “important information relating to a minor child should not be withheld, either inadvertently or purposefully, from his or her parent.”  (s. 1014.02, F.S.)  School boards, as well as other government agencies, may not infringe upon the fundamental rights of parents unless it is “reasonable and necessary to achieve a compelling state interest and that such action is narrowly tailored and is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means.”  (s. 1014.03, F.S.)  These rights include the right “to direct the education and care of [the parent’s] minor children.”  (s. 1014.04(1)(a), F.S.)  Finally, school boards must adopt a policy to promote parental involvement in the schools, including a process to object to instructional materials, opt-out of sex education, and other rights previously enacted in the Education Code (Chapters 1000-1013, F.S.).  (s. 1014.05, F.S.)

 

Further, in 2022, the Legislature enacted HB 1557, entitled Parental Rights in Education.  This bill amended the Powers and Duties of District School Boards.  (s. 1001.42, F.S.)  It requires school boards to adopt procedures for notifying parents/legal guardians “if there is a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student.”  (s. 1001.42(8)(c)1., F.S.)  District procedures can only permit withholding information from a parent/legal guardian “if a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect.”  (s. 1001.42(8)(c)2., F.S.)  

 

The Legislature also added to the Superintendent’s Duties and Responsibilities.   Section 1001.51(12)(a), Florida Statutes, provides that “Such records and reports shall include any determination to withhold from a parent information regarding the provision of any services to support the mental, physical, or emotional well-being of the parent’s minor child.  Any such determination must be based solely on child-specific information personally known to the school personnel and documented and approved by the school principal or his or her designee.  Such determination must be annually reviewed and redetermined.”  (s. 1001.51(12)(a), F.S.)


Helpful Links Required by the Parents’ Bill of Rights:

Based on the Parents’ Bill of Rights (particularly Section 1014.05(1), Florida Statutes) and Parental Rights in Education (particularly Section 1001.42(8), Florida Statutes, all OCPS parents/legal guardians have the right to the following (please click on each heading to see the drop-down box with more information):



Improve Parent and Teacher Cooperation in Homework, School Attendance, and Discipline

OCPS parents/legal guardians can click this OCPS Parent Portal link to access and view attendance and discipline in the Skyward Family Access app and assignment information in Canvas Parent.

In addition, some elementary schools also utilize a student planner which can assist parents/legal guardians in locating homework assignments.

OCPS parents/legal guardians can communicate and cooperate with their child’s teacher through the OCPS Parent Portal using the Canvas Parent Inbox to send a message, by emailing the teacher directly or over the phone. Please allow 24 hours for a response to a phone call and 48 hours to a response to written communication.

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(a), Florida Statutes

Learn About Courses of Study, Supplemental Materials, and How to Access and Review School Records

OCPS parents/legal guardians can access many school records on the OCPS Parent Portal in the Skyward Family Access app including current year attendance, schedules, grades, discipline, standardized test scores, report cards, and online forms.  Parents/legal guardians can also contact their children’s schools to learn about the course of study.  Sources of any supplemental education materials can be found on the school’s website.

If you are interested in obtaining your official transcript or student records you can do so by faxing or mailing a request to your school. If the school you attended is no longer open you may request your official transcript or educational records from the nearest high school. Please click here for more information on student records and to access the Student Records Authorization Form.

*This section complies with Sections 1014.05(1)(b) and 1014.05(1)(f)(3), Florida Statutes.

How to Inspect and/or Object to Instructional Materials

OCPS parents/legal guardians can click here to find a list of currently adopted instructional materials (i.e. textbooks).

The OCPS Public Portal provides OCPS parents/legal guardians with a complete list of digital applications adopted by the district.

The Public Portal can be accessed here: 
OCPS Parent Portal link

To learn about the process to request that a particular physical or digital material be reconsidered please visit the OCPS Instructional Materials page.  

Parents/legal guardians may also object to instructional materials and other materials used in the classroom based on beliefs regarding morality, sex, and religion or the belief that such materials are harmful.  The procedures to object to instructional materials can be found under the Currently Adopted Instructional Materials section here.  Sources of any supplemental education materials can be found on each school’s website.

*This section complies with Sections 1014.05(1)(b), 1014.05(1)(c), and 1014.05(1)(f)(6), Florida Statutes.

Procedures to Opt-Out of Comprehensive Health Education

OCPS parents/legal guardians can click this OCPS Parent Portal link to access and view the instructional materials used in OCPS reproductive health and disease curriculum.

Parents/legal guardians are able to exempt their children from the teaching of reproductive health or any disease, including HIV/AIDS (per
Section 1003.42, Florida Statutes). Parents/legal guardians who wish to exempt their children from participating in reproductive health and disease instruction, including instruction relating to HIV/AIDS, can make a written request to their children's school principal. Visit your children's school's website for principal contact information.

Additional information can be accessed here.

*This section complies with Sections 1014.05(1)(d) and 1014.05(1)(f)(1), Florida Statutes.

Learn About Clubs and Activities

OCPS parents/legal guardians can click here for a full list of extracurricular activities at each school or visit the Current Families page under “Navigating the School Day - After School Opportunities.”

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(e), Florida Statutes.

Receive Information About School Choice Options

OCPS parents/legal guardians receive annual notification of open enrollment for School Choice options through Connect Orange. School Choice information can also be accessed here or by visiting the OCPS Current Families page under “Navigating the School Year- Making Choices.”

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(f)(2), Florida Statutes.

Immunization/Immunization Exemption Information

All student immunizations must be up-to-date to attend school in Orange County. The immunizations are recorded on a Florida Certification of Immunization (DH 680) form, which can be obtained through the Orange County Health Department or your doctor’s office. Parents/legal guardians can find additional information from the Orange County Health Department  at 407-723-5004.  

Private health care providers may grant a Temporary Medical Exemption (TME), documented on the Form DH 680, Florida Certification of Immunization, for those who are in the process of completing any necessary immunizations. The TME requires an expiration date after which the exemption is no longer valid, and the immunizations must be completed before or at that time.

A Permanent Medical Exemption, documented on the Form DH 680, can be granted if a child cannot be fully immunized due to medical reasons. In this case, the child's physician must state in writing, the reasons for exemption based on valid clinical reasoning or evidence.

Form DH 681, Religious Exemption From Immunization, is issued if immunizations are in conflict with the religious tenets and practices of the child's parent/legal guardian. This exemption is issued by a County Health Department (CHD) and based on established religious beliefs or practices only.

Parents/legal guardians can contact the 
Florida Department of Health for additional information on immunization exemption requirements. 

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(f)(3), Florida Statutes.

Statewide Standardized Assessment Results

OCPS parents/legal guardians can click this OCPS Parent Portal link to access and view assessment results in the Skyward Family Access app.

Florida statewide assessment results can also be viewed on the
Florida Department of Education Results page.

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(f)(4), Florida Statutes.

Special Education Programs

Gifted Education

OCPS parents/legal guardians and school staff may refer students for screening for the gifted program in Kindergarten-12th grade at any time during the school year.

All students will be screened for gifted in second grade using the Universal Gifted Screening Process. Exceptions to this include students who have already been staffed into the gifted program; have already been evaluated and found ineligible for gifted services; or have had a cognitive evaluation as part of consideration for another program.

Referred students are screened at the school by completing a standardized paper and pencil group intelligence test. Those students who score at a high level on the group test are scheduled for a more lengthy and in-depth evaluation by a school psychologist.

A school psychologist administers an individualized test of intelligence to determine a student’s intellectual ability. In Florida, a student must score two standard deviations above the mean or higher in order to meet the intellectual criterion for the gifted program.

In conjunction with the psychologist’s testing, a checklist of gifted student behavioral characteristics is completed by one or more teachers familiar with the student. All information is then reviewed by an eligibility staffing committee at the school to determine if the student has a need for the gifted program and meets eligibility criteria.

Parents/legal guardians may also choose to contract with a private psychologist for their child's evaluation. The private psychologist must be licensed. When a private psychologist is used, the child’s school psychologist will review copies of the evaluation. The staffing committee will then determine eligibility according to the same criteria mentioned above.

Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Programs

OCPS parents/legal guardians and school staff may request that students be evaluated in Kindergarten-12th grade at any time during the school year.

A list of eligibility criteria and required student evaluations for all fourteen (14) available ESE programs can be found in the 2020-2023 Orange County Public Schools Exceptional Student Education Policies and Procedures (SP&P) starting on page 60.

The SP&P can be found by 
clicking here or by visiting the Orange County Public School’s ESE Policy and Procedures Special Programs and Procedures page.

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(f)(5), Florida Statutes.

Access Information Relating to the School District’s Policies for Promotion or Retention, including High School Graduation Requirements

OCPS parents/legal guardians can click here to view the current OCPS Student Progression Plan.

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(f)(7), Florida Statutes

Access a School Report Card

OCPS parents/legal guardians can click this OCPS Parent Portal link to access and view student grades, progress reports, and report cards in the Skyward Family Access app. For directions, please visit the OCPS Current Families page under “Monitoring Growth.” The requirements for school districts to issue report cards can be found HERE.

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(f)(8), Florida Statutes.

Attendance Requirements

OCPS parents/legal guardians can find information on attendance requirements on each school’s website, in the Orange County Public Schools Attendance Handbook, and on the OCPS Current Families page under “Navigating the School Day Attendance.”

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(f)(8), Florida Statutes.

Access Information Relating to the State Public Education System and State Standards

OCPS curriculum follows the state adopted Florida Standards. OCPS parents/legal guardians can access information relating to the state public education systemstate standards, report card requirements, attendance requirements, and instructional materials requirements.

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(f)(9), Florida Statutes.

Participate in Parent-Teacher Associations and Organizations

Every Orange County Public School has a School Advisory Council (SAC) and Multilingual Parent Leadership Council and most have a Parent-Teacher Organization or Association (PTO/PTSA). More information on each group can be found below.

  1. Orange County Council of PTAs
  2. School Advisory Councils
  3. Multilingual Parent Leadership Council

OCPS parents/legal guardians can check their school’s website for more information on local offerings.

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(f)(10), Florida Statutes.

Opt-Out of District-Level Data Collection not Required by Law

OCPS parents/legal guardians have the opportunity to complete the Parent Technology Media Information Consent form in the OCPS Parent Portal annually. Click here for additional information and directions.

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(1)(f)(11), Florida Statutes.

Notify Parents/Legal Guardians of Healthcare Services and the Option to Withhold Consent

OCPS respects that families have the choice of healthcare services for their children. At the beginning of each school year, parents/legal guardians are provided the option to withhold consent or decline a specific service.  Parental consent to a health care service does not waive the parent’s/legal guardian’s right to be notified about a change in his or her student’s services or monitoring.

OCPS parents/legal guardians have the opportunity to complete and/or amend the Health Services Consent form in the OCPS Parent Portal

*This section complies with Section 1001.42(8)(c)(5), Florida Statutes.

Procedures to Request Information Pursuant to Parent’s Bill of Rights (HB 241) (2021)

OCPS parents/legal guardians are encouraged to work with their children’s school with respect to any concerns.  A  parent/legal guardian may also request, in writing, information regarding the topics from this page, by emailing [email protected].

In the event that a parent/legal guardian does not receive a response to their email to
[email protected] or their request for information to [email protected] is denied within ten (10) calendar days, a parent/legal guardian can appeal the denial to the district school board.  School Board Services can be reached at 407.317.3236.  The opportunity for appeal applies to concerns relating to the information as set forth in Section 1014.05, Florida Statutes.

 

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(3), Florida Statutes.

Procedures for Alleged Violations of Parental Rights in Education (HB 1557) (2022)

OCPS is required to adopt procedures for notifying parents/legal guardians if there is a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student.  District procedures can only permit withholding information from a parent/legal guardian if a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identify may not occurring in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age or developmentally appropriate for students.

All student support trainings must adhere to frameworks established by the Department of Education.   Student well-being questionnaires and health screening forms for students in kindergarten through grade 3 must be provided to the parent to obtain permission before administration.  At this time, the district does not have plans to administer well-being questionnaires to kindergarten through grade 3 students.

At the beginning of each school year, parents/legal guardians are provided the option to withhold consent or decline a specific health care service.  Parental/legal guardian consent to a health care service does not waive the parent’s/legal guardian’s right to be notified about a change in his or her student’s services or monitoring.

Parents/legal guardians do have the right to file complaints under House Bill 1557.  If a parent/legal guardian notifies a principal of concerns that the provisions of this Bill have been violated, the Principal must attempt to resolve those concerns within seven (7) calendar days after notification by the parent/legal guardian.  The parent/legal guardian may notify the principal in writing via email or regular U.S. mail of the concern.

If a parent/legal guardian invokes this procedure, principals shall contact their area superintendent/chief/associate superintendent, who will involve the Office of Legal Services to provide guidance on resolution of the concerns.  Once the resolution is determined, the principal shall contact the parent/legal guardian either through a reply email or a letter sent via U.S. Mail to the parent informing the parent/legal guardian of the principal’s determination.

If the parent/legal guardian is not satisfied with the principal’s determination and escalates the concerns to the appropriate area superintendent/chief/associate superintendent, the concern must be resolved to the parent’s/legal guardian’s satisfaction within thirty (30) days after notification, or the appropriate area superintendent/chief/associate superintendent must provide a statement of the reason(s) for not resolving the concerns.  Such statement may be sent via email or via letter sent by U.S. Mail.

If the concern is not resolved, the parent/legal guardian may request that the Commissioner of Education appoint a special magistrate to address a parent’s/legal guardian’s dispute or file a declaratory judgment action in court.

 

In order to request appointment of a special magistrate, a parent/legal guardian must complete the “Parental Request for Appointment of a Special Magistrate” form.  Parents/legal guardians must describe the nature of the dispute, the resolution or relief sought at the school and district level, describe the resolution sought from the special magistrate and the State Board of Education, and demonstrate that before filing for the appointment of a special magistrate, resolution was sought by the parent/legal guardian with the student’s principal and subsequent to that, resolution was sought by the parent/legal guardian at the district level.

 

Parents/legal guardians can find additional information on the Florida Department of Education Special Magistrate Requests page.

*This section complies with Section 1001.42(8)(c)(7), Florida Statutes and Florida Administrative Code Rule 6A-1.094125.

Request for Information

OCPS parents/legal guardians are encouraged to work with their children’s school with respect to any concerns. A  parent/legal guardian may also request, in writing, information regarding the topics from this page, by emailing [email protected].

In the event that a parent/legal guardian does not receive a response to their email to 
[email protected] or their request for information to [email protected] is denied within ten (10) calendar days, a parent/legal guardian can appeal the denial to the district school board.  School Board Services can be reached at 407.317.3236.  The opportunity for appeal applies to concerns relating to the information as set forth in Section 1014.05, Florida Statutes.

 

*This section complies with Section 1014.05(3), Florida Statutes.