OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — It’s one of the most controversial Florida laws this year: the state is allowing parents to challenge classroom discussions in their child’s classroom.
The law, called the Parental Rights in Education law and dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, has two key elements: it bans instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
It also only allows those discussions in older classrooms if deemed “age-appropriate.”
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Osceola County is one of many Central Florida school districts still studying new requirements based on the law.
On Wednesday, the state’s Department of Education laid out guidelines that explain how parents can ask for state intervention if a district isn’t complying.
Parents can fill out a form and send it to the state. The commissioner of education could ask a magistrate to step in who will collect evidence and make a recommendation. That magistrate will then have 30 days to collect evidence and make a recommendation to the state board, which will have another 30 days to accept or reject that recommendation.
Osceola County is working to review the rules. School Board attorney Frank Kruppenbacher said he wants the district to consider creating an educator hotline, where teachers who have questions about what they can and can’t do under the law can get answers, and avoid a complaint about them heading to the state.
“Educators are being put in a very difficult position of having a significant number of responsibility and laws put on top of them,” Kruppenbacher said. “We at least have them protected in an environment that is one of insecurity right now.”
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