Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's board of education has expanded the Parental Rights in Education law, also known as the 'Don't Say Gay' bill, to include a ban on teaching gender identity and sexual orientation in all public school grades. The previous version of the law prohibited instruction of these topics to children ages 5 through 8, but the new rule will now apply to grades four to 12 in the state. Critics of the policy claim it could harm children who identify as gay and transgender.
The DeSantis administration put forward the proposal last month as part of its agenda to make Florida the 'Citadel of Freedom' where 'woke goes to die.' The governor has not commented on the proposal, but he recently railed against 'woke' issues such as transgenderism during a visit to the early primary contest state of South Carolina.
Republican voters are still waiting for DeSantis to announce his highly anticipated run for President as he ramps up his war with Disney and while Donald Trump keeps up his attacks. A Trump super PAC recently released an ad calling DeSantis 'pudding fingers' and criticizing his past calls to cut Social Security and Medicare.
DeSantis has directed questions about the law to Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., who said the new rule was meant to clarify confusion around the existing law and reinforce that teachers should not deviate from existing curriculums. Diaz Jr. also stated that the new rule does not remove anything from the existing curriculum, but rather sets expectations for teachers to teach to the standards.
The expansion of the 'Don't Say Gay' bill has sparked controversy and criticism from those who believe it could harm LGBTQ+ students. However, the DeSantis administration maintains that it is simply clarifying existing law and reinforcing standards for teachers.