Florida lawmakers pass bill limiting LGBTQ discussion in school

The Pink Times
The Pink Times March 10, 2022
Updated 2022/03/17 at 3:41 PM

(Reuters) – Florida lawmakers on Tuesday passed a Republican-backed bill that would prohibit classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity for many young students, rejecting criticism and student protests that characterized the measure as discriminatory and misguided.

The legislation, referred to by its opponents as the “don’t say gay” bill, has stirred national controversy amid an increasingly partisan debate over what schools should teach children about race and gender.

Governor Ron DeSantis, who is seeking re-election this year, has indicated his support for what is formally called the “Parental Rights in Education” bill. He and other Republican politicians across the United States say they want to give parents more control over what young children learn in school.

Democrats say such policies will harm the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. The Florida measure bars classroom instruction in public schools on sexual orientation or gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade, or from about ages 5-9.

It also prohibits such teaching that “is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate” for students in other grades. Under the law, parents would be allowed to sue school districts they believe to be in violation.

“We’re going to make sure that parents are able to send their kid to kindergarten without having some of this stuff injected into their school curriculum,” DeSantis told reporters on Monday.

High school students across Florida have staged walk-outs to protest the bill. Video footage showed students crowding the steps and the halls of the state capitol on Monday, carrying pro-LGBTQ signs and chanting “We say gay!”

The measure passed the state Senate on Tuesday mostly along party lines. The Republican-led state House also approved the bill last month.

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