Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is planning to expand the state's "Don't Say Gay" laws to high schools, which would mean banning all Florida school classes from discussing or even mentioning sexual orientation or gender in any way.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ′ administration is moving to forbid classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the controversial law critics call “Don’t Say Gay” as the Republican governor continues a focus on cultural issues ahead of his expected presidential run.
The proposal, which would not require legislative approval, is scheduled for a vote next month before the state Board of Education and has been put forth by state Education Department, both of which are led by appointees of the governor.
The rule change would ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from grades 4 to 12, unless required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take. The initial law that DeSantis championed last spring bans those lessons in kindergarten through the third grade. The change was first reported by the Orlando Sentinel.
DeSantis has leaned heavily into cultural divides on his path to an anticipated White House bid, with the Republican aggressively pursuing a conservative agenda that targets what he calls the insertion of inappropriate subjects in schools.
Spokespeople for the governor’s office and the Education Department did not immediately return an emailed request for comment.
Last year’s Parental Rights in Education Act drew widespread backlash nationally, with critics saying it marginalizes LGBTQ people and their presence in society.
DeSantis and other Republicans have repeatedly said the measure is reasonable and that parents, not teachers, should be broaching subjects of sexual orientation and gender identity with their children.
Critics of the law say its language — “classroom instruction,” “age appropriate” and “developmentally appropriate” — is overly broad and subject to interpretation. Consequently, teachers might opt to avoid the subjects entirely for fear of being sued, they say.
Consequently, banning all Florida school classes from mentioning sexual orientation at any grade level is exactly what critics said would happen when the law was passed originally banning K through 3rd grade classes.
Of course it means that teachers, principals, guidance counselors, school nurses and coaches can't talk about this either with students for fear of retribution, which means LGBTQ+ kids are on their own in Florida unless their parents are understanding and supportive, and not all parents are.
So yeah, this is going to end up getting LGBTQ+ kids hurt and killed, which I guess is the point of the law.
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