Hope Scholarship for Parents
On August 6, 2021, the State Board of Education adopted Emergency Rule 6AER21-02 COVID-19 Hope Scholarship Transfer Procedures. This Emergency Rule provides parents with a mechanism to transfer a child to a private school, request another public school in the district, or receive a transportation scholarship to another district under a Hope Scholarship when a student is subjected to harassment relating to, or as a result of, a school district’s COVID-19 health protocols. COVID-19 Harassment is defined as any threatening, discriminatory, insulting, or dehumanizing verbal, written or physical conduct an individual student suffers in relation to, or as a result of, school district protocols for COVID-19, including masking requirements, the separation or isolation of students, or COVID-19 testing requirements, that have the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits.
Under Hope Scholarship law, a student is eligible for a scholarship if he or she has been subjected to an incident of battery, harassment, hazing, bullying, kidnapping, physical attack, robbery, sexual offenses, harassment, assault or battery, threat or intimidation, or fighting at the public school; once the incident has been reported to the school.
Bullying, whether by other students or by employees of a public K-12 educational institution, encompasses both words and actions with the intent to demean, dehumanize, embarrass, or cause physical harm. Incidents could involve teasing; social exclusion; sexual, religious, or racial harassment; or public or private humiliation and could occur at any school-related or school-sponsored program or activity or on a school bus of a public K-12 educational institution.
Within 15 days after any incident described above has been reported to school personnel, the school district must provide information to the family about the Hope Scholarship Program and offer the parent an opportunity to enroll his or her student in another public school that has capacity or to request and receive a scholarship to attend an eligible private school, subject to available funding.
Follow these simple steps to participate in the Hope Scholarship Program:
- Report the incident to your child’s school. You do not need to provide proof of the incident.
- The school district must provide information on the Hope Scholarship and offer to transfer your child to another public school that has space. You can also choose an approved private school. Click here for the list of private schools in your county.
- If you choose a private school, make sure the school has space and is accepting students.
- Contact Step Up For Students. the scholarship funding organization that will help you with the application process
Educational Options under the Hope Scholarship Program
- Transfer to another public school – The parent has the option of enrolling his or her student in another public school that has capacity. If a parent chooses to enroll his or her student in a public school located outside the district in which the student resides, the parent shall be eligible for a scholarship to transport the student. To transfer to another public school, please contact your school district office. To apply for transportation funding, please contact Step Up For Students.
- Transfer to an approved private school – A parent may choose to enroll his or her student in an approved private school. The parent must notify the district of his or her intent to withdraw the student from the public school and place the student in private school. To apply for scholarship funding, please contact Step Up For Students. The form below must be filled out completely in order to apply.
For a list of approved private schools, please visit: http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/information/privateschooldirectory/.
To learn more about private school requirements in Florida, please review our Private School Information for Parents page at: http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/private-schools/parent-info.stml