Don’t Say Gay in School

Florida’s Controversial Bill Becomes Law

Emiliana Velez, Staff Writer

Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the controversial, “Parental Rights in Education” bill. This law prevents Florida teachers from discussing gender and sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through third grade.

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.”

— Parental Rights in Education

In addition, schools will also have to keep parents informed if these subjects are discussed in the classroom. Otherwise, parents also have the right to sue if schools violate the law.

Many student-led organizations all over the country have made it clear that they don’t support the new Florida law. The Trevor Project, a nonprofit for LGBTQI+ suicide prevention, says the new law eliminates  “LGBTQ identity, history, and culture — as well as LGBTQ students themselves.”

Despite the objections raised by critics, supporters of the new law say the intent of the law is not to erase rights, but to strengthen parental rights. Says Gov. DeSantis, “We will make sure parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination,”

Since the time of the signing, at least 15 other states have looked to Florida to gauge their own similar bills. Currently, bills in Tennessee, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas, among others, are moving through state legislatures with the aim to bar educators from discussing sexual orientation without parental permission.

In a Tweet, President Joe Biden made his position clear: “I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are. I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”