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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has voiced his support for a bill that would stop teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in the state’s primary schools. The Parental Rights in Education bill — dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” — was passed by the Florida Senate Education Committee on Feb. 8, 2022.
During a press conference held in Miami at a roundtable at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, DeSantis, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, and Attorney General Ashley Moody discussed various topics, including the Don’t Say Gay bill, on February 7.
DeSantis feels it is “entirely inappropriate” for teachers to have gender identity conversations with students. He even cited instances where teachers hid classroom lessons from parents and told them not to “worry, don’t pick your gender yet.”
He added that schools should teach children how to read and write. “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 stuff,” he further stated.
Later that day the White House slammed Florida Republicans over their proposal to ban gender identity or sexual orientation discussions in Florida schools. “Every parent hopes that our leaders will ensure their children’s safety, protection, and freedom. Today, conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack the kids who need support the most – LGBTQI+ students, who are already vulnerable to bullying and violence just for being themselves,” read the statement from the White House.
The purpose of the bill is to “reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children.” It needs to be passed by two more Florida Senate committees — who have the power to make changes — before it is presented to the full chamber. Afterwhich it would go to the Florida House of Representatives.
If the bill supported by DeSantis passes, it would become effective on July 1. By June 30, 2023, all Florida school districts would be updated.
Many advocates and parents feel this bill will be extremely detrimental to the students. Several LGBTQ members thanked the White House for denouncing DeSantis’ support on the bill. United States Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, feels the bill is “absolutely” dangerous and fears it may drive some to the brink of suicide.
Parents should be involved in decisions revolving around their children. However, it is a proven fact that many people, including youth, have a hard time “coming out of the closet” with their families. They need support groups and individuals to help them feel comfortable speaking about what makes them happy. Limiting those who could help, like educators, could in fact be very dangerous.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Daily Mail: Biden’s transport secretary Pete Buttigieg claims Florida Republicans’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill will drive up suicide rates: White House goes to war with ‘hateful’ legislation banning discussion of gender and sexuality in schools; by Elizabeth Elkind and Adam Manno
NBC News: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signals support for ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill; by Matt Lavietes
CBS News: Florida Senate committee passes “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would bar LGBTQ discussions in schools; by Li Cohen
NBC Los Angeles: White House Denounces Florida GOP Over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill; by Anthony Izaguirre
Images by Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License