Florida Bans Gender Identity Teaching in All Public Schools, Expands ‘Parental Rights’ Rule

Florida families notched another win on Wednesday after the State Board of Education approved expanding a rule to block classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity through 12th grade. Governor Ron DeSantis requested the rule change and expanded the scope of the Parental Rights in Education law, which currently only covers kindergarten through 3rd grade. The law will apply to all public school classrooms, with some exceptions.

Under the rule, instructors are prohibited from injecting woke curriculum into their classrooms, including teaching on gender identity, sexual orientation, or other subjects “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Teachers who violate the role face having their professional license suspended or revoked.

According to the Florida Department of Education, the rule change covering 4th to 12th-grade classrooms will enter effect following a procedural one-month notice period.

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The Governor signed the bill into law last year at a ceremony outside Tampa, eliciting thunderous applause from families and parents’ rights activists. At the time, DeSantis said he would “make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination.”

The legislation has long been the target of a massive media hit campaign, which commonly refers to it as the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Left-wing activists falsely allege that the rule erases LGBT identities and makes it illegal to use the word “gay” in classrooms. President Joe Biden has called the law “hateful.”

A potential rule change was first reported on last month when the Florida Board of Education said it would consider a new proposal expanding the law through 12th grade, but with certain exceptions,

“For grades 4 through 12, instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited unless such instruction is either expressly required by state academic standards … or is part of a reproductive health course or health lesson for which a student’s parent has the option to have his or her student not attend.”

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While the Governor’s office has not yet commented on the rule change, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. offered clarification, saying that the decision by the Board of Education was intended to dispel any confusion surrounding the current law and ensure that Florida teachers do not deviate from the curriculum.

“We’re not removing anything here. All we are doing is we are setting the expectations so our teachers are clear: that they are to teach to the standards.”

After signing Parental Rights in Education into law in March 2022, DeSantis described the role of parents in children’s education as “fundamental.” They vowed to protect students from being sexualized in the classroom.

“Parents’ rights have been increasingly under assault around the nation, but in Florida we stand up for the rights of parents and the fundamental role they play in the education of their children. Parents have every right to be informed about services offered to their child at school, and should be protected from schools using classroom instruction to sexualize their kids as young as 5 years old.”

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