Florida Tells Schools To Ignore Federal Instruction To Include Instruction on Gender Identity in Classrooms

Toby Hazlewood

Will Biden revoke funding for school lunches as threatened?

Governor Ron DeSantisTwitter of GovRonDeSantis

On July 28, Florida's Education Commissioner - Manny Diaz Jr - issued an instruction to schools in the state that they should ignore federal government guidance to continue teaching of gender identity and related subjects in classrooms.

The government issued renewed guidance under Title IX - long-standing regulations intended to prevent sexual discrimination in schools - in response to Florida's recently enacted Parental Rights in Education bill. The bill, which has become known by its critics as the 'don't say gay' law, prohibits discussion of gender and sexual identity in public school classrooms from grades K through 3.

While Florida's leaders have attempted to limit the discussion of such topics in classrooms, the federal government has since been doing what it can to reverse laws enacted by Governor Ron DeSantis, while also demonstrating a lack of understanding of it.

From the instruction issued by Diaz Jr on July 28, it would seem that Florida is readying itself for a fight.

Threatening school lunches for underprivileged kids

The issue came to a head when Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) - overseen by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried - instructed schools to comply with Title IX. The FDACS administers the national school-lunch program.

It had previously been announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service - part of the federal government - that funding for low income students to receive free school lunches would be withdrawn if public schools failed to comply with the administrations interpretation of Title IX.

It would appear that FDACS were trying to ensure that underprivileged kids in Florida would still receive their food, but while the state's Education Commissioner likely shares this goal too, it would seem that Florida's leadership isn't prepared to give up on preventing classroom discussions of gender and sexual identity just yet.

Totalitarian leadership?

At the time of the announcement that school meals were at risk, Governor DeSantis' Press Secretary Christina Pushaw described the threat of withholding food from disadvantaged children in order to progress the Biden administration's political agenda as "appalling".

She continued:

"We will not allow Biden to force Floridians to choose between children’s food and parents’ rights. That is the kind of ‘decision' that a totalitarian regime would force upon its citizenry."

Based on those comments, and the actions taken by Diaz Jr yesterday, it seems that Florida isn't willing to accede power and judgment to the federal government when it comes to what's taught in schools. What happens next, remains to be seen.

Do you think Florida is right to stand up to the federal government in determining what's taught in the state's schools? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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