Florida moves to expand ban on sexual orientation, gender identity teaching

Florida moves to expand ban on sexual orientation, gender identity teaching
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a Donald J. Trump's make America great victory rally at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, USA, 29 October 2020. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Peter Foley)

March 22 (Reuters) - Florida is looking to expand its ban on teaching young children about sexual orientation and gender identity issues to include all students in its public schools under a new rule set for a vote by the state Board of Education next month.

By Sharon Bernstein

The proposed rule is the latest move by the administration of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to seek his party’s 2024 nomination for president, to limit or prohibit instruction on topics conservatives consider inappropriate for the state’s classrooms.

Last year, DeSantis signed a Republican-backed measure that banned classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade. Critics denounced what they dubbed the “don’t say gay” bill.

The Florida Department of Education’s new proposal, which would not require legislative approval, would extend the ban through the 12th grade.

The proposal drew swift criticism on Wednesday from Democrats and LGBTQ rights activists, with White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre calling the proposal “completely, utterly, wrong.”

Equality Florida said the rule was advancing DeSantis’ political agenda at the expense of diverse families and educators.

Under the rule, teachers could face disciplinary action if they discuss sexual orientation or gender identity outside of mandated curriculum or health courses that parents have been briefed on and given the option to keep their children out of class for those lessons.

“There is no reason for instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity to be part of K-12 public education. Full stop,” DeSantis spokesperson Bryan Griffin tweeted on Wednesday.

The state Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the rule at its April 19 meeting.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, CaliforniaEditing by Colleen Jenkins and Lincoln Feas)t.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • David Anthony James Starley says:

    How can you use the statement ” …… Florida has continued its legislative descent towards the far right ….” operative words being ‘far right’?
    Surely this should be considered normal, not far right? The fact that there is so much bias towards so-called ‘self identity’, and exposure of young children to such confusing aspects in such young minds, surely it needs to be curtailed somewhat?
    Talking of self-identification, not withstanding the above, I identify as an extreme, left wing, liberal. Do you believe that?

  • Agf Agf says:

    Once again the “far right” label is used. School children do not need to be exposed to gender identity and sexual orientation. I suppose that parents complaining to school boards about pornography books in school libraries are also all “far right”?

  • Richard Salt says:

    I agree with David, don’t throw these controversial subjects at young children.

  • Chris Corns says:

    A constructed ideology has no place in schools, particularly when it is aimed at young learners. Objective facts and intellectual development are all that is required.

  • Vas K says:

    I also agree with David. Anyone trying to use common sense is now labelled “far right” or “extreme left” immediately ruling out an intelligent exchange of views. Here is my view: children need a safe and stable home environment without being exposed to and confused with every fringe of the society, especially at schools. As long as I am legally responsible for my children, I will decide for what is best for them. I have no problem with them making alternative choices for themselves when they are emotionally and legally able to do that. The society normally assumes responsibility for sheltering children from facts of life inappropriate for them. It is a bit worrying that the children might be eventually exposed at schools to things they are not allowed to watch in cinemas and on TV.

  • Johann Olivier says:

    Ah, I see the writers on this forum find it acceptable for the Fat Fingered Fascist of Florida to do what he does, but yell with outrage when there is government overreach in South Africa. Make no mistake, De Santis is the worst kind of right-wing politician. He’s an opportunist & a ‘culture wars’ bully. He is creating issues where there are none. He bans books. He fires teachers. He fires professors and lecturers. He fires prosecutors. He goes after the weak. He is a bully. In fact, I could see these same scribes purple faced with fury if De Santis were exactly as he is, but black and a South African leader. That, in a nutshell, is a problem. One stands for freedom and democracy, or one does not. De Santis does not. More Malema, less Mandela.

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