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Florida parents propose newer laws on after school clubs

Clubs are a great way for high school students to develop their social and intellectual skills. They can make new friends, explore their passions or discover something they never knew they were interested in to begin with. Though there are plenty of athletic opportunities offered at high schools, they are heavily based on a student’s physical ability and skill set. A club can be a great alternative to keep them busy if they cannot or do not want to play basketball.

However, clubs do not have as many state restrictions set upon them as much as sports or competitive programs. In the last year, several concerned parents in Florida began suggesting different laws to their respective counties to either keep the children safer or to give them more say on who can join a club.

One arrest means no more clubs

At the beginning of the year, the Orange County School Board began considering to prevent students arrested for serious crimes from joining sports teams or clubs. The board considered the danger an arrested student could be in having to face their classmates after the story breaks out or the students for having a potential criminal on their team. Currently, students can continue to participate in extracurricular activities until the prosecutor files charges against the teenager.

While many parents believe this could provide additional safety for the students, others think that this could further isolate someone’s child who was wrongfully arrested for a crime they did not commit. Since then, there has been no word on the proposal yet.

Parental consent required

Recently, the Pasco County school district began facing a proposal to require parental consent for students to join clubs. The parents behind the proposal argue that they have rights to know what is going on in their children’s lives and do not want their kids to join a club that could be consequential or goes against their personal views. Though some of the board members understand the concerns of the parents, they are conflicted on the matter because enacting the law could place a limit on a student’s personal freedom and chance to seek help elsewhere if there are problems at home.

While Florida does have laws preventing students who do not meet specific academic and conduct requirements from joining extracurricular activities, many laws on clubs are county specific. For example, Lake County has the parental consent requirement that Pasco County is debating about. In case you have any issues with how clubs operate in your schools and how they impact your child, make sure to look up your respective county’s laws on extracurricular activity before you take any actions.

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