TALLAHASSEE, FL — (02-21-22) — A new amendment introduced by Florida State Rep. Joe Harding (R) to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, would require teachers to inform parents of their child’s sexual orientation within six weeks of learning the student isn’t heterosexual.

The CS/CS/HB 1557 Amendment filed Friday by the bill’s co-sponsor, state Rep. Joe Harding (R), has gained national attention and pushback for having the nerve to force educators in Florida to out LGBT children to their parents.

From talking about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary schools to now outing LGBT children, shows the determination of the Republican party to erase LGBT students.

Not only that but in the Amendment filed by Harding, parents would be able to take legal action against school districts they believe have violated the measure.

The original version of the legislation required schools to inform families of their child’s LGBTQ+ status but gave an option for exemption for the outing in cases where educators feared it could lead to abuse, neglect or abandonment.

Harding’s amendment offers no such exemption:

It instructs school leaders to “develop a plan, using all available governmental resources,” to inform parents about their children’s sexual orientation “through an open dialogue in a safe, supportive, and judgment-free environment that respects the parent-child relationship and protects the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the student.”

Another amendment to HB 1557 notes the potential risks that outing them could have on Florida students, but Republicans state that they don’t care.

Filed by Democratic state Rep. Ana Eskamani, HB1557 would allow students to sue the Florida Department of Education for damages for “irreparable harm” caused by the disclosure of their sexual orientation.

The full bill, which has the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), is set to face a vote in the Florida House this week.

It has been universally condemned by LGBT Rights Groups, the Human Rights Council and the White House.

“Every parent … hopes that our leaders will ensure their [children’s] safety, protection and freedom, and today conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack kids who need that support the most, kids from LGBTQI+ community,” said Biden press secretary Jen Psaki in a press briefing earlier this month.

“Make no mistake, this is not an isolated action in Florida,” continued Psaki. “Across the country, we’re seeing Republican leaders taking action to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be. This is who these kids are, and these legislators are trying to make it harder for them to be who they are.” said Psaki.

Feel free to voice your thoughts and concerns directly to Florida State Rep Joe Harding on Twitter @josephbharding.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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