On Wednesday, the Florida Board of Education approved an expansion of the “Parental Rights in Education” bill that would prohibit classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity to now include all grades, instead of just kindergarten through third.
Last year, Governor Ron DeSantis signed H.B.1557, known as the “Parental Rights in Education” bill into law. The state Senate passed it with a 22 – 17 vote. The bill took effect on July 2, 2022, and prohibits discussions on gender identity and sexual orientation in the state’s kindergarten through third-grade classrooms “or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
School districts are required to notify parents of any health care services offered at their schools and provide an option to withhold consent to any services. Schools also need parental consent before giving students kindergarten to third grade health screenings or well-being questionnaires. The bill also allows parents to sue school districts if the policy is violated which gives decision-making power back to the parents over their children’s education.
The recent rule change would ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from grades 4-12, unless required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take. The expansion will apparently take effect in one month after a procedural notice period.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “This approval by the Florida Board of Education to protect students from gender ideology in the classroom is another step toward protecting children. The classroom is not an appropriate place for discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity. Radical activists have no business trying to confuse and indoctrinate our children regarding their biological gender.”