TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Senate is scheduled to vote on the “Parental Rights in Education” bill.
The bill would ban teachers from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
It would prohibit similar lessons that aren’t age-appropriate in older grades.
The proposal, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, has attracted scrutiny from President Joe Biden, who called it “hateful,” as well as other Democrats, who argue it demonizes LGBTQ people.
As written, the bill by Republican Rep. Joe Harding states, “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” A parent could sue a district for violations, the Associated Press said.
The Associated Press reported that Harding has said the bill would not prevent teachers from engaging students in spontaneous discussions, but instead is meant to stop districts from integrating lessons on sexual orientation or gender identity into the curriculum.
“I believe an idea that creating boundaries at an early age at what is appropriate in our schools, when we are funding our schools, is not hate. It’s actually providing boundaries and it’s fair to our teachers and our school districts to know what we expect,” he said.
Democrats have said the language of the bill, particularly the phrases “classroom instruction” and “age appropriate,” could be interpreted as broad enough to apply to any grade and could open districts to lawsuits from parents who believe any conversation to be inappropriate, the AP reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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