Florida Senate and House have passed The Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed as “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by the opponents. The bill bans discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in primary schools.
The bill has now been sent to Governor Ron DeSantis for his signature who is already in support of this bill. It will bar the teachers from teaching these topics to children under 10 years old.
This controversial bill bans curriculum mentioning sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. But what is leaving everyone in doubt the scope of these restrictions in older grades if the instruction is not deemed “age-appropriate.”
“A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students,” the bill reads.
If Governor DeSantis will sign the bill, it would go into effect from July 1.
Many LGBTQ activists are criticizing this law.
“As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am deeply concerned about laws being enacted across the country, particularly those focused on our vulnerable youth. I stand with them and the families, loved ones, and allies who support them,” tweeted Apple CEO Tim Cook.
“Let us be clear: should its vague language be interpreted in any way that causes harm to a single child, teacher, or family, we will lead legal action against the State of Florida to challenge this bigoted legislation,” said Equality Florida, a local LGBTQ advocacy group.
It further stated that erasing the presence of the LGBTQ community from lessons implies students should be ashamed or should suppress their gender identity or sexual orientation.
“Every LGBTQ young person deserves to attend a school that provides an inclusive, affirmative environment – not one that aims to erase their existence,” said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is an organization focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth.
“We know that LGBTQ youth already face higher risk for bullying, depression, and suicide – and this bill will only add to the stigma that fuels these disparities,” added Amit.
“Instead of coming up with these vague bills, why are we not supporting the most inclusive, tolerant education and, and society that we can?” said Democratic state Senator Tina Polsky.
In the four US states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas – have laws on books that prohibit or limit sex education to heterosexual activity.