TALAHASSEE. — The Florida Board of Education on Wednesday approved a ban on teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity at all grades, expanding parental rights in education or the “don’t say gay” law, as they say. calls him, at the request of Governor Ron DeSantis.
The proposal will take effect after a notice period of about a month, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education.
The change would prohibit teaching classes on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades 4-12 unless current guidelines require it or as part of a reproductive health class that would be optional for the students. Currently, these classes are prohibited from kindergarten through third grade.
The DeSantis administration introduced the proposal last month as part of the Republican politician’s platform, which is devoting much of its campaign to these issues in view of the imminent announcement of his candidacy for the White House.
DeSantis has not commented on the proposal. He referred questions to state education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., who said it was to clear up confusion around the current law and to insist that teachers do not not deviate from the program standards.
“Our teaching must be based on state academic standards,” said Paul Burns, director of the public schools division.
The ban has provoked a strong backlash from those who argue it marginalizes LGBTQ+ people and is so vague it provokes self-censorship by teachers. President Joe Biden called it “hateful.”
The law led to a standoff with the Disney Corporation, one of the state’s largest employers and political donors.
The entertainment giant publicly opposed the law last year, and DeSantis, in retaliation, called on lawmakers to give him control of a Disney-supervised self-governing district of its theme parks.
But before DeSantis appointees could take control of the district, Disney’s board of directors passed provisions that strip new members of most of their powers, limiting retaliation from the governor.
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