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New House legislation could expand controversial Parental Rights in Education bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Changes could be made to the controversial Parental Rights in Education law that passed last year.

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The law prevents teachers and staff from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade classes.

A new house bill would expand the law to include middle school. Another potential addition to the law would impact all students, and prevent teachers from telling students their preferred pronouns, along with asking students theirs.

The bill is already garnering a lot of Republican support. Even without a companion bill written just yet, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo is already backing it.

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“The schools are not supposed to be raising our kids,” she said. “It should be the parents.”

Still, Passidomo said she’s not quite sure House Bill 1223 is perfect as currently drafted.

“I don’t think I’d be supportive of high school because the kids in high school, hopefully, are a little more mature,” she said. “At least they should be, but the middle school, maybe.”

READ: How the Parental Rights in Education Act will impact Central Florida school districts this year

Former House Rep. and Equality Florida Outreach coordinator Carlos Guillermo-Smith is calling it another move to push a censorship agenda.

“The reality is this bill is taking away the rights of parents who expect and affirm their trans kids to have a safe and healthy transition in school,” he said.

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The bill could begin consideration as early as Tuesday. Guillermo-Smith said he’s worried the impacts could have, at the least, creating a hostile environment for trans students.

Orange County School District said in response, “While the district does not comment on proposed legislation, staff will be following it closely and analyzing the impacts for our students and their families”

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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