Florida’s ‘Parental Rights In Education’ Law May See Expansion

Sen. President Kathleen Passidomo (R-FL) is exploring the possibility of expanding Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” law, which was passed by Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) back in March.

The law came with heavy criticism from the left who re-named it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, although there is no mention in the bill to not say “gay.” The law (HB 1557) prohibits teachers from instructing kindergarten through third-grade students about sexual orientation and gender identity.

It reads, “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.”

The bill is meant to protect young children, allow parents to decide how to introduce LGBTQ+ topics, and also give parents the right to sue the school district if the policy is violated.

Passidomo told reporters earlier this month that she is considering broadening the legislation to include middle school students, as well as the kindergarten through third-grade students that already fall under the legislation.

“I am a parent. Of course, my kids are older, but I want to know what is going on in schools, and I want to be able to be consulted,” Passidomo said. “The schools are not supposed to be raising our kids. It should be the parents, and that is really what the intent of the bill was. They should be able to object to things that they object to.”

Passidomo did not believe the law should be extended to high school students, stating that they “should” have the maturity level to handle such topics.

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The controversy over the bill has not slowed down in the nine months since it became a law. Those opposing the law have said it unfairly ostracizes students based on gender identity and takes away “the rights” of the teachers to be an ally for LGBTQ students.

There is nothing in the law that prohibits teachers from being an ally for LGBTQ students, but such topics cannot be taught within the classroom curriculum.