The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

Seminole County needs to think for itself

In+recent+years%2C+SCPS+policies+have+become+increasingly+cautionary%2C+ultimately+at+the+cost+of+students+and+teachers.+SCPS+must+start+thinking+beyond+what+the+state+wants%2C+and+focus++instead+on+what+their+students+need.+
photo by Josephine Lim
In recent years, SCPS policies have become increasingly cautionary, ultimately at the cost of students and teachers. SCPS must start thinking beyond what the state wants, and focus instead on what their students need.

No books. No movies. And now, no social media.

For two years, state laws, and Seminole County’s interpretations, have gotten increasingly restrictive. With the pretext of giving rights back to parents and shielding students from inappropriate content, too many laws have passed that are setting a concerning trend.

While Florida continues to approve this vague and alarming legislation, Seminole County keeps interpreting these laws to the extreme. From the permission slips that were instated earlier this year to the recent movie restrictions on campus, more and more media is being censored for students.

These laws typically have a common starting point, in theory — the fight for parental rights. But, with the new bills that are passed, it seems to be a different narrative. The School-Sponsored Events and Activities law was passed to allow parents to decide what kind of school-sponsored activities their kids were allowed to be exposed to. Now however, the new social media ban seems to be taking that parent freedom away by banning all minors 16 and younger from having social media regardless of parental decision.

 Intentions are not the only place where these bills contradict themselves. The same bill, SB 1788, states that the government will take measures to prohibit minors from making new social media accounts, but it never truly clarifies if only new accounts will be restricted or if it will be applied to accounts that were made before the bill is passed. Simply to say, the legislations are not specific enough, so they can be interpreted as more restrictive than what it is on paper.

Needless to say, the vague nature of these laws allow interpretations that are not necessary. The Parental Rights In Education, for example, never mentioned that movies needed to be verified by the principal; it simply stated that any content that is given to students needed to be verified. Of course, Seminole County interpreted this to mean movies, but with the county’s cautious interpretations, it is hard to say what other steps they will take next. Will they ban Youtube clips, field trips or clubs? It is frustrating since the bill never specified how to carry out any of their laws. But, in order to prevent any legal issue, the county takes the laws to the extreme, and students suffer.

In order to prevent any legal issue, the county takes the laws to the extreme, and students suffer.

— The Blueprint

Despite the constant disagreement of students and teachers, these laws are never legally challenged. Students, media and civil liberty groups have all complained and spoken out against the governor in force, but so far it is just noise. Until these laws are challenged and defeated in court, the trend of disappearing student rights will continue.

It is impossible to say what other laws will be passed that strip students’ rights. But one thing is for certain: if these laws are never questioned or challenged, we will face a future where we have less and less access to the books, media and even courses that have made our county among the top in the state and nation.

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About the Contributor
Josephine Lim, News Editor
Josephine Lim is a junior at Hagerty High School, and this is her first year on staff. She loves using illustrations and writing to tell stories people care about. Her older sister Janell is her biggest inspiration.
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