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Florida Bill Would Expand the Parental Rights in Education Law, Dubbed 'Don't Say Gay' By Critics

New legislation introduced in Florida would expand the Parental Rights in Education law, referred to by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The original Parental Right in Education bill, or HB 1557, was passed by the state legislature in March 2022. Under the policy, teachers cannot provide lessons on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to elementary school-age children in third grade or younger. Teachers are prohibited from discussing the topics “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

The law currently applies to public school instruction up to third grade.

On Tuesday, State Rep. Adam Anderson introduced HB 1223 to expand the prohibition through eighth grade — as well as include charter schools and private pre-kindergarten.

In addition to expanding the grades that the law applies to, the bill states that “it shall be the policy of every public K-12 educational institution that is provided or authorized by the Constitution and laws of Florida that a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait and that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex.”

“An employee or contractor of a public K-12 educational institution may not provide to a student his or her preferred personal title or pronouns if such preferred personal title or pronouns do not correspond to his or her sex,” the bill continues.

The bill also states that an employee may not ask a student to provide his or her preferred pronouns or name, a student may not be penalized for not providing them.

LGBTQ groups are already condemning the proposal.

“Don’t Say LGBTQ policies have already resulted in sweeping censorship, book banning, rainbow Safe Space stickers being peeled from classroom windows, districts refusing to recognize LGBTQ History Month, and LGBTQ families preparing to leave the state altogether. This legislation is about a fake moral panic, cooked up by Governor DeSantis to demonize LGBTQ people for his own political career,” said Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer in a statement. “Governor DeSantis and the lawmakers following him are hellbent on policing language, curriculum, and culture. Free states don’t ban books or people.”

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