Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill into law. This bill, more commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, has been met with widespread backlash and condemnation from LGBTQ+ advocates since it was first introduced in January.
The bill states that “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.” Additionally, the bill stipulates that school districts must “adopt procedures for notifying a student’s parent if there is a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.” Parents who believe this has been violated will be permitted to sue school districts.
“We will continue to recognize that in the state of Florida, parents have a fundamental role in the education, health care and well-being of their children. We will not move from that,” DeSantis said at the bill signing.
Advocates and activists have stressed that this bill both attempts to erase the presence and identity of LGBTQ+ youths from classrooms, and may lead to schools outing LGBTQ+ students to their parents against their will.
BREAKING: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill forbidding instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
The policy, which critics have called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, has drawn intense national scrutiny. https://t.co/RzdJrBmgd5
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 28, 2022
“LGBTQ youth in Florida deserve better. They deserve to see their history, their families, and themselves reflected in the classroom,” said Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of nonprofit organization The Trevor Project, in a statement. “While I am saddened to see this harmful bill signed into law, I am inspired by the outpouring of support for LGBTQ students we have seen from parents, teachers, celebrities, and their peers. Social support is vital for suicide prevention, and I want to remind LGBTQ youth in Florida and across the country that you are not alone.”