Print View

Your printed page will look something like this.

New FL Rule Implements HB 1557 Key Parents' Rights Piece


Florida State Board Of Education Passes Important New Rule For Parents To Request A Special Magistrate

The Florida Board Of Education recently approved a new rule detailing the process for parents to request a  special magistrate, which is a provision of Florida's Parental Rights In Education House Bill 1557. An overview of the new rule was presented to The Florida Board Of Education by Dr. Paul Burns, Florida Deputy Chancellor Of Education Quality, during the August 17, 2022, State Board Of Education Meeting. The full Special Magistrate Process Rule 6A-1.094125, along with additional guidance and associated forms can be found at the Florida Department Of Education Parental Rights Page.


The Special Magistrate Process Overview| Rule 6A-1.094125  

Presented By: Dr. Paul Burns, Florida Deputy Chancellor Of Education Quality.

  • This new rule further supports the parental rights of parents by providing parents with a more expedient route to resolve certain disputes. This rule implements a key parent’s rights piece of HB1557 protecting the rights of parents in need of additional assistance with certain disputes that are not timely or satisfactorily resolved by the school district.
  • Previously, parents who believed that their school or their district was in violation of the law could not seek administrative remedies beyond petitioning their school principal or their local school board. This rule addresses this limitation and allows parents the opportunity to pursue a resolution from a special magistrate if certain criteria are met.
  • This rule further provides an alternative and more expedient route for parents to resolve certain disputes rather than just pursuing a declaratory judgment action in court.
  • When a parent complaint is not resolved to the parent's satisfaction at the local level, the parent may request the appointment of a Special Magistrate by the Commissioner.
  • The Special Magistrate is an attorney who will hold a state-level hearing with the parent and the school district and prepare a recommended decision to the State Board of Education.
  • The State Board of Education must then approve or reject the decision within 30 days.
  • Before seeking the appointment of a special magistrate, a parent must follow school district procedures for resolution.
    • If a parent dispute is not satisfactorily resolved by a school principal within 7 calendar days, or is not satisfactorily resolved by a school district within 30 days, parents may submit a form to the DOE requesting the appointment of a special magistrate. 
  • this circumvents the normal process that the districts have to deal with unresolved disputes
  • Once a special magistrate is appointed, a dedicated DOE staff member will work to assist the parent throughout the process.
    • The parents may also hire an attorney to represent them during the special magistrate process.
      • While the parents may collect attorney’s fees if they pursue a declaratory judgment route in court, attorneys' fees may not be collected if the parents elect to hire an attorney to represent them during the special magistrate process.


Steps For Parents To Utilize The Special Magistrate Process:

Board Members Esther Byrd and Ryan Petty offered a concise summary of the process for parents to utilize the special magistrate process:

  1. Parent completes the Parental Request For A Special Magistrate form and sends it to the Department Of Education using the email or physical address listed on the form.
  2. DOE receives the form and reviews it for completeness. The DOE provides the parent an opportunity to supplement the material if additional information is needed.
  3. The school district then has 5 days to respond.
  4. Once that 5 days expires, the request is given to the Commissioner Of Education, who will decide to either dismiss the request or appoint the special magistrate.
  5. Once the special magistrate is appointed, the 30-day clock begins for the special magistrate to hold hearings, receive evidence, receive testimony, and present their recommendation to the State Board Of Education
  6. The State Board Of Education has no less than 7 days, and no more than 30-days to decide whether to reject or accept that recommendation.

A Parent May Request A Special Magistrate If They Belive Their School District Violated One Of The Following Florida Laws:

☐In accordance with the rights of parents enumerated in ss. 1002.20 and 1014.04, F.S., the school district must adopt procedures for notifying a student’s parent 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. The procedures must reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children by requiring school district personnel to encourage a student to discuss issues relating to the student’s well-being with his or her parent or to facilitate discussion of the issue with the parent. The procedures may not prohibit parents from accessing any of their student’s educational and health records created, maintained, or used by the school district, as required by s. 1001.22(2), F.S.
☐A school district may not adopt procedures or student support forms that prohibit school district personnel from notifying a parent about his or her student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being, or a change in related services or monitoring, or that encourage or have the effect of encouraging a student to withhold from a parent such information. School district personnel may not discourage or prohibit parental notification of and involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being. This requirement does not prohibit a school district from adopting procedures that permit school personnel to withhold information from a parent if a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect as defined in s. 39.01, F.S.
Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.
☐ Student support services training developed or provided by a school district to school district personnel must adhere to student services guidelines, standards, and frameworks established by the Department of Education.
☐At the beginning of the school year, the school district must notify parents of each healthcare service offered at their student’s school and the option to withhold consent or decline any specific service. Parental consent to a health care service does not waive the parent’s right to access his or her student’s educational health records or to be notified about a change in his or her student’s services or monitoring.
☐Before administering a well-being questionnaire or health screening form to a student in kindergarten through grade 3, the school district must provide the questionnaire or health screening form to the parent and obtain the permission of the parent.