The Florida House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on Thursday afternoon, being sponsored by Orlando State Representative Rene Plasencia, that would exempt students with autism from being charged with a excused absences from school for seeking treatment.
In Orange and Brevard Counties students who receive a certain amount of unexcused absences could fail classes and the parents of those children can be subject to scrutiny from school officials and social services.
HB 127 was sponsored by Plasenica with the intention of providing blanket regulations that would authorize students with an autism spectrum disorder to attend treatments without being charged with an unexcused absence saving parents from that scrutiny and allowing their children to seek care with peace of mind.
The bill was expected to pass heading into the afternoon. Plasencia thanked his colleagues for their support and his wife, who works with children with autism.
“This bill is a product of the fierce advocacy and passion that my wife has for her community and for the kids that she sees everyday in her autism center. It is through her that I have been introduced to this world and I have seen the struggle that these families go through and the roadblocks that are in place for them to get the therapy that is needed so that their children can grow up and be independent as adults.”
The bill passed with 115 in favor and zero in opposition. Companion legislation is currently moving though the state senate.