Education /

DeSantis Expresses Support for Bill Limiting Discussion of 'Gender Identity' and Sexual Orientation in Schools


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed his support for the Parental Rights in Education bill, which would limit discussion of “gender identity” and sexual orientation in schools.

The bill was passed in the state House Education and Employment Committee in January and an almost identical bill has been introduced in the state senate.

On Monday, the governor told reporters that it is “entirely inappropriate” for teachers to be discussing gender identities with students, according to a report from The Hill.

“Schools need to be teaching kids to read, to write,” DeSantis said. “They need to teach them science, history. We need more civics and understanding of the U.S. Constitution, what makes our country unique, all those basic things.”

“You have politicians saying parents have no role in the education of their kids. Give me a break,” he said. “We want parents to be able to have access to what’s going on in the classroom. And certainly, it is inappropriate to be hiding these things from parents.”

“We’ve seen instances of students being told by different folks in school, ‘Oh, well, don’t worry, don’t pick your gender yet, do all this other stuff.’ They won’t tell the parents about these discussions that are happening. That is entirely inappropriate,” DeSantis said.

The bill reads, “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.”

If a parent believes a school district has violated the policy, they will be permitted to take legal action.

The bill will also ban policies in schools that might lead to withholding information about a child’s mental, emotional or physical health from their parents — unless there is a reasonable belief that the information could lead to abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

Opponents of the legislation have branded it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is also gay, said of the bill, “it’s going to have, really, a chilling effect on the ability of school districts to continue with LGBTQ-inclusive policies that create positive educational environments for our youth,” during a news conference held by House Democrats, according to a report from Orlando Weekly.

DeSantis has not expressly stated that he will sign the legislation into law, but his open support indicates that he will.

 

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