The media and opponents continue to misconstrue the new Florida bill regarding gender issues.
“Critics call it the Don’t Say Gay bill,” said a reporter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “Does it say that in the bill?” the governor replied. “I’m asking you to tell me what is in the bill, because you are pushing false narratives. It doesn’t matter what critics say.”
The bill is a response to an influx of gender ideology and sexual orientation content in classrooms across the nation exposed by conservative news outlets and grassroots organizations like Parents Defending Education. Critics have most notably taken issue with the bill’s statement that “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade three or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Nowhere in the legislation is the word “gay” mentioned, although the word “parent” is mentioned 32 times and the word “parental” is mentioned seven times. The legislation heavily focuses on parental notification and parental awareness of what children are being taught or exposed to in school.
HB 1557 requires that district school boards adopt procedures that “comport with certain provisions of law for notifying a student’s parent of specified information.” The bill requires that these procedures “reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children.” It prohibits any school procedures from impeding “a parent from accessing certain records,” encouraging a student to withhold such information from a parent, or discouraging parental notification in critical decisions involving a student’s “mental, emotional, or physical well-being.”
Such procedures may not impede parents from “accessing any of their student’s education and health records created, maintained, or used by the school district,” the bill text reads.
“A school district may not adopt procedures or student support forms that prohibit school district personnel from notifying a parent about his or her student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being, or a change in related services or monitoring, or that encourage or have the effect of encouraging a student to withhold from a parent such information,” the legislation says.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice