Fla. Senate approves Parental Rights in Education Bill preventing gender identity curriculum in classrooms

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News


Florida’s Senate on Tuesday passed a measure banning schools from giving classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity through the third grade. The legislation was approved by the Florida House last month. 

Democratic politicians and left-wing media outlets have branded the “Parental Rights in Education bill” as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, falsely claiming that it is anti-LGBTQ. President Biden had added fuel to the fire last month by calling it a “hateful bill” in a tweet.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, however, is suggesting that critics should actually “read the bill” before making false assertions about its contents. He shot back at a WFLA reporter who used the “Don’t Say Gay” cognomen at a Monday press conference.

“Does it say that in the bill?” asked the governor. 

The reporter began to argue that the bill refers to “Classroom instruction on sexual identity and gender orientation,’” before DeSantis cut him off.

“For who?” Desantis challenged. “For grades pre-K through three: no five-year-olds, six-year-olds, seven-year-olds,” he continued, adding, “And the idea that you wouldn’t be honest about that and tell people what it actually says, it’s why people don’t trust people like you because you peddle false narratives. And so we just disabused you of those narratives.”

DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw issued a similar rebuke to an Associated Press reporter who sent out a tweet announcing the passage of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Pushaw argued that reporters should actually “read the legislation before writing about it” since the bill doesn’t “mention the word ‘gay’ or LGBT people at all.”

The Parental Rights in Education bill requires Florida school districts to adopt procedures that “reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children in a specified manner.”

Contrary to the “Don’t Say Gay” misnomer, there is no language contained within the bill that forbids the use of the term “gay,” nor does it prohibit informal discussions on LGBTQ issues. It does, however, bar formal classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” topics with kids in the third grade or younger, or “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” 

Under the measure, school districts are required to notify parents of any changes to their child’s “services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student.” They are also prohibited from “encouraging a student to withhold” such information from a parent. 

School districts must also make parents aware of every health care service offered at their child’s school and give them the option to withhold consent. The bill also requires schools to allow parents to access to their child’s health and educational records maintained at the school. The administration of any health questionnaires or screenings are further prohibited without parental permission.

Last week when talking about the bill, DeSantis reiterated that the purpose of the bill was to give parents the right to decide what should be taught to their children in regards to such sensitive topics at a young age:

How many parents want their kindergarteners to have transgenderism or something injected into classroom instruction? And so I think those are very young kids. I think the legislature is basically trying to give parents assurance that they’re gonna be able to go and this stuff’s not gonna be there.