TAMPA, FL — (03-21-23) — Rumors are swirling that the DeSantis administration’s anti-LGBTQ ideology is moving to expand it’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law to go up to the 12th Grade. In fact the GOP’s war on the LGBTQ Community is moving to bar all public school teachers from providing classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity. A move that would expand Florida’s controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay‘ Law passed in 2022.
A proposed State Board of Education rule, scheduled for a vote in April, states that teachers in grades 4 to 12 “shall not intentionally provide classroom instruction” on either topic, expanding the prohibition in last year’s law that critics dubbed “don’t say gay.”
According to the legislation brought forth by Republicans, teachers who violate the rule could face suspension or revocation of their teaching licenses.
Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, views the suggested rule as part of “larger, disturbing trend” where Florida’s Republican leaders seek to use “every lever of government to censor conversations about LGBTQ people,” said Brandon Wolf, the group’s spokesman.
Brandon Wolf said that he believes that the goal of this anti-LGBTQ DeSantis administration, seems to be to paint LGBTQ people as “wrong,” said Wolf, “or that we should be written out of society.” said Wolf.
The Florida Department of Education, overseen in part by the State Board, refused to respond to JRL CHARTS LGBT Politics News emails for response to this story.
Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, who is the department’s top administrator, signed off on the proposal, documents show.
The seven-member board is made up of appointees of Gov. Ron DeSantis or former GOP Gov. Rick Scott.
The law passed by the Legislature and signed by DeSantis last year — officially titled the Parental Rights in Education law — bars instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, a move supporters say upholds the rights of parents to decide when and how to introduce sensitive topics with their children. Forget the fact that most parents never discuss sexuality with their children!
GOP lawmakers know this fact and are moving to expand the anti-LGBTQ prohibition so that it applies to pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade classes, and they also want to prohibit school employees from referring to students by pronouns other than those that match their sex at birth.
“Parents have the right and God-given responsibility to guide their children’s upbringing,” said Sen. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, and sponsor of the Senate legislation (SB 1320), during a committee hearing Monday. “They should not have to worry their students are receiving classroom instruction on topics and materials parents feel are not age-appropriate,” said Yarborough.
Since the passage of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law, the Miami-Dade County School Board has rejected recognizing October as LGBTQ history month, the Orange County school district told K-3 teachers to take down any rainbow flag “safe space” stickers in their classrooms, and districts across the state removed books from their campuses.
While the anti-LGBTQ legislation spoke to parents’ rights, it ignored the rights of parents of LGBTQ students.
Yarborough disagreed. “I reject the notion that it is targeting a single group of folks,” said the ball face lying Yarborough.
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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