The Florida government, under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, is planning to implement a new policy that prohibits the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms for students in grades 4 to 12. The proposed change in rules would expand on the existing "Don't Say Gay" law, which critics have labeled controversial.
The policy does not require approval from the legislature and is scheduled to be voted on next month by the state Board of Education, which is led by DeSantis' appointed members. The only exceptions to the ban would be if the topics were required by state standards or part of reproductive health instruction that students could opt out of.
DeSantis, who is believed to be planning a presidential run, has been actively targeting cultural issues to gain support from conservative voters. He has taken a hardline stance against what he perceives as the inappropriate inclusion of certain subjects in schools.
No official statement has been made by the governor's office or the Education Department regarding the proposed policy change.
It is unclear how this policy will affect students who identify as LGBTQ+ and how it will impact their education and well-being. Critics argue that it could contribute to an unsafe and unwelcoming environment for these students, potentially leading to higher rates of bullying and discrimination.
As of now, it remains to be seen whether this policy will be implemented and how it will be received by the public.
Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has proposed a new measure to expand on the law he championed last year that banned instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade. The proposed new rule would extend this ban to include students in grades 4 to 12.
Critics of the law argue that it marginalizes the LGBTQ+ community and could lead to increased discrimination and bullying of these students. The law also sparked a public feud between the state of Florida and Disney, which publicly opposed the measure.
In response to Disney's opposition, the Republican-controlled Legislature dissolved a self-governing district controlled by Walt Disney World over its properties in Florida, effectively punishing the company for its stance on the law. DeSantis was eventually given control of the board that oversees municipal services in Disney's theme park properties, which played a key role in the company's decision to build near Orlando in the 1960s.
The proposed rule change has been met with criticism and concern from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and educators who argue that students have a right to accurate and inclusive education. The Orlando Sentinel was the first to report on the proposed change.
It is unclear how the rule change, if implemented, will affect students and their education and whether it will face legal challenges from opponents.