Florida bill strengthens parental rights and restricts classroom material

A+poster+in+a+Portage+Central+classroom+that+would+be+considered+inappropriate+under+Floridas+Parental+Rights+in+Education+bill.+

A poster in a Portage Central classroom that would be considered inappropriate under Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill.

Hailey Pullo, Editor-in-chief

This past month, a Florida bill has come under fire for its targeting on LGBTQ+ students. The bill-which recently passed through legislature and onto the desk of Gov. DeSantis-is titled Parental Rights in Education, and states that lesson plans that contain information about sexual orientation are prohibited in grades K-3. It also bans any lessons that mention sexual orientation in higher grades unless that are considered “devlopmentally appropriate.” 

A measure has been added to the bill that would allow parents of students to sue school districts. Supporters of this bill have stated that it is a way for parents to have stronger parental rights over their children and their education. 

A previous measure of the bill required school authorities to inform parents if a student openly discussed their orientation or gender identity at school, which put students at risk of being outed. This measure was pulled from the bill last month. 

Despite the support from many, there has been significant opposition. Democrats across the country have expressed their disapproval of the bill, claiming the bill is harmful to teachers and students alike. 

In a large contrast to parental support, many public schools in Florida have seen student planned “walk-outs” as well as organized protests. 

This opposition mirrors a similar disagreement between parties over another concept in education, the teaching of critical race theory. Critical race theory has been banned from classrooms in numerous states and this past year, democrats in support of critical race theory have been criticizing the majority republican support of the bans.

In spite of opposition, numerous states are following in Florida’s footsteps and there are currently 15 proposals of similar bills in nine states. A bill in Kansas would make it a misdemeanor for teachers to use any materials that discuss sexual orientation or gender identity in any ways.  

DeSantis, who has expressed support for the bill that has been deemed by the public as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, is expected to sign off on it.