Legislation passing through the Florida House of Representatives would ban discussion of menstrual cycles and other topics of human sexuality in elementary classrooms.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Stan McClain would limit teaching in public schools about human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases and related topics in grades 6 through 12.

McClain confirmed at a recent committee meeting that discussions of menstrual cycles would also be limited to those grades.

“So if little girls know their menstrual cycle in grade five or grade four, will that stop them from having conversations since they’re below grade six?” asked state Rep. Ashley Gantt, a Democrat who taught in public schools, noting that girls as young as 10 can start menstruating.

“I would,” McClain replied.

The GOP-backed legislation passed the House Education Quality Subcommittee on Wednesday with a 13-5 vote, mostly along party lines.

It would also allow parents to object to books and other materials their children are exposed to, require schools to teach that a person’s gender identity is biologically determined at birth, and establish greater scrutiny of certain educational materials. by the State Department of Education.

McClain said the intent of the bill is to standardize sex education across all of Florida’s 67 school districts and provide more opportunities for parents to object to books or other materials than they deem inappropriate for young children.

At the committee meeting, Gantt asked if teachers could be punished for discussing menstruation with younger students.

“My concern is that they won’t feel safe having these conversations with these little girls,” she said.

McClain said that “that would not be the intent” of the bill and that he is “open” to some changes in its wording. The measure must be approved by another committee before it can be submitted to the full House; a similar bill is pending in the Senate.

An email seeking comment was sent Saturday to the office of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely seen as a potential 2024 presidential candidate.

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