March 10, 2022

Florida Education Bill

“Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature passed a bill Tuesday to forbid instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade… The bill states: ‘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.’” AP News

The bill also requires schools to “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 and the school's ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student.” Florida Senate

See past issues

From the Left

The left opposes the bill, arguing that it will harm LGBTQ youth and those with non-traditional families.

"When children come from non-traditional families, they need to be seen and recognized, not treated as so weird and deviant that their parents' relationship is unspeakable in school. When all the adults in a place are modeling exclusion and discrimination, kids will too…

“Whatever your views on LGBTQ rights and gender identity, barring teachers from even recognizing that gay people exist forces them to lie to their students and breaks down trust between students and educators. After all, millions of students nationwide have gay parents, siblings, friends, aunts, uncles and on and on. They watch gay celebrities on television and in movies. Many will identify as LGBTQ themselves. Barring the mention of reality doesn't make reality cease to exist.”
Jill Filipovic, CNN

"[Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-FL)] [had] proposed an amendment that attempted to remove the perceived stigmatization of LGBTQ people in the bill while still meeting DeSantis' objective. His amendment banned instruction of ‘human sexuality’ for children in third grade and under instead of singling out sexual orientation or gender identification. It had support from Democrats and LGBTQ advocates. But his Republican colleagues voted down the amendment… LGBTQ Floridians once hoped DeSantis could be an ally. Not anymore."
Steve Contorno, CNN

"Republicans, in their eagerness to get the ‘don't say gay’ bill across the finish line, revived a repulsive, homophobic myth: That queer people are pedophiles who recruit children…

“‘The bill that liberals inaccurately call 'Don't Say Gay' would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill,’ Christina Pushaw, DeSantis' longtime press secretary, wrote over the weekend on Twitter. She followed up by saying that anyone who opposes the bill is ‘probably a groomer.’ The term  ‘groomer,’ of course, is just another word for ‘child molester,’ as actual pedophiles are known to ‘groom’ their victims before assaulting them. But (I can't believe this needs to be said in the year 2022) there is no evidence that LGBTQ people molest children at a higher rate than straight-identified people.”
Amanda Marcotte, Salon

"[These measures are] rooted in the anachronistic belief that discussions about gender and sexuality somehow endanger children. But for many LGBTQ kids, schools can be an important lifeline for information — and a source of comfort that they are not alone. In a recent survey, the Trevor Project found that 42 percent of LGBTQ youths seriously considered suicide in the past year. Eliminating mention of these topics will only isolate these children further and deprive students of a chance to learn about their identities and those of their peers…

“Proponents of such bills routinely invoke the bogeyman of school systems infringing on ‘parental rights,’ arguing that such conversations should be led by parents and families. Of course, parents have an important role to play, and educators should generally be mindful of parental concerns. These bills, however, are an intrusive attempt to restrict speech in schools. And just like efforts against the specter of critical race theory, they seek to expunge important truths about our history and world from classrooms.”
Editorial Board, Washington Post

From the Right

The right supports the bill, arguing that it is necessary to keep young children from being exposed to age-inappropriate material.

The right supports the bill, arguing that it is necessary to keep young children from being exposed to age-inappropriate material.

“Critics have pejoratively described the bill as ‘censorship,’ but it is perfectly appropriate to censor adult themes and ideas around small children. Beyond teaching the acceptance of differences, why confuse children under eight years old, most of whom do not yet understand the biology of sexual reproduction? What need is there for schools to introduce young children to the highly contentious metaphysical claim that your sexed body may not be your ‘true’ gender? If parents wish to discuss these themes with their children, they are of course free to do so…

“These are not hypothetical concerns. In November, the Littlejohn family filed a lawsuit against Leon County School Board in federal district court in Northern Florida, after they were excluded from welfare decisions regarding their 13-year-old daughter. The Littlejohns had informed the school that their daughter was confused about her gender and made clear that they did not consent to social transition…

“However, it later transpired that school staff had held private meetings with her, asking which pronouns she would prefer, which restrooms she would like to use, whether she would like to stay with the boys on overnight trips, and whether they should keep her parents in the dark.”
Madeleine Kearns, National Review

“Many parents believe that classroom teachers should not show young, impressionable children pictures that depict breast-binding or encourage physically altering their growing bodies. They don’t want children in early elementary grades to read books or use gender-coloring books encouraging them to disassociate their minds from their bodies, and to focus on sex and sexuality at such a young age…  

“Young children don’t need to be shown a Blue’s Clues Pride Parade video celebrating transgenderism and pansexuality, or Queer Kid Stuff videos that train them to ask people for their pronouns, or be told that doctors are sometimes wrong when ‘assigning gender.’ Children should not be instructed that there is no such thing as girls and boys. Lest this sound like an unlikely scenario: a lawsuit is being filed by a Canadian mother whose six-year-old daughter was taught ‘girls are not real, and boys are not real’ at school… It’s more than understandable that parents have asked legislators to curb such gender-ideology activism in schools.’”
Ginny Gentles, RealClearEducation

“No one wants a child to feel ‘not valued’ or conform to one point of view. The problem is that progressives think their point of view is the only one and everyone else agrees. Otherwise opponents are labeled as homophobic or anti-LGBTQ. What Republicans are pushing for, though, is allowing young children to just be children…

“The teacher can monitor a student-led discussion on LGBTQ issues, should a child bring it up in class, but it will not be allowed to be a routine part of a class’s curriculum. A young child may bring up that he or she has two moms, for example, and that can start a conversation in a classroom. It’s important that it is an age appropriate discussion… [The bill is a] simple acknowledgement that very young children should not have to learn about mature topics in early elementary school years.”
Karen Townsend, Hot Air

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