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DCPS to require permission slips for classroom birthday celebrations under state law

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The same law that led to book bans statewide could now be the reason birthday celebrations end in the classroom, according to some Duval County Public Schools teachers.

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The district is now requiring permission slips signed by parents before participating in a wide range of school-sponsored events.

According to a letter obtained by Action News Jax sent home by the district, “permission slips will be required for all school-sponsored events including...birthday parties, holiday celebrations...and musical events.”

“I think it’s outrageous. My plate is already so full, it’s spilling over,” Chris Guerrieri, a veteran DCPS teacher, said. His school has a chorus concert Wednesday and he said so far only 65 of about 145 total students have turned in permission slips. “This is a mundane activity that happens daily across the district. And now we have to have permission slips for it.”

The district said the reason for the change is the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act which now includes State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.089.

Action News Jax reached out to the Florida Department of Education to see if this is how the law was intended. But so far, we have not heard back.

According to the “procedures of parental consent” which was approved in January by the school board, “the board recognizes the fundamental rights of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their minor children.”

Teachers said previously they would be allowed to get verbal permission, but under the change, they now need to get signed forms. Guerrieri is worried for the kids who will now be left out.

“It’s going to make them feel terrible. It’s going to make them feel excluded,” he said. He added because of the extra hassle, many teachers will likely opt out of having birthday celebrations.

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