So-called “don’t tell gay” law extends to all grade levels – NBC Miami (51)
Tallahassee. – The Florida Board of Education on Wednesday approved a ban on teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity at all grade levels, expanding parental rights in education, or known as the “don’t tell gay” law at the request of the governor. Ron DeSantis.
Opinions for and against expanding the new law were heard at a State Board of Education meeting in Tallahassee today.
“We’re creating expectations so that our teachers are clear about what they’re supposed to be teaching under academic standards,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr.
Orlando Gonzalez, executive director of SAVE, “caring for all American values,” expects that “this is going to cause a long-term crisis, and we’re going to see a lot of students rejected and they’re going to feel isolated.” It will never bear good fruit.”
The vote on the state action coincides with a proposal filed today with the Miami-Dade School Board to create a committee to review textbooks and instructional materials in schools for compliance with the law’s requirements.
Roberto Alonso, a member of the Miami-Dade school board, assures, “This will complement the state, the state has already set its requirements, we have rules … It will give parents a voice and be able to communicate with the school board about things that concern them.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools will continue to comply with state law and, as always, “we welcome the involvement of parents in their children’s education. Our schools continue to be safe and welcoming places for all students.”
According to an education department spokesperson, the proposal will come into effect after a notice period of about a month.
The change would prohibit the teaching of subjects on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades 4-12 unless required by current guidelines or as part of a class on reproductive health. Currently, those subjects are banned from kindergarten through third grade.
Ron DeSantis’ administration made the proposal last month as part of the platform of Republican politician, who has dedicated part of his campaign to these issues given the imminent announcement of his bid for the White House.
DeSantis had no comment on the proposal, so he referred questions to Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., who said he wanted to clear up confusion about the existing law and insist that teachers not deviate from curriculum regulations.
“Our teaching must be based on the state’s academic standards,” said Paul Burns, director of the Division of Public Schools.
The ban has sparked a strong backlash from those who argue that it marginalizes LGBTQ+ people and is vague enough to prompt self-censorship from teachers.
President Joe Biden called the law “abhorrent,” sparking a conflict with Disney, one of the state’s largest employers and political donors.
The entertainment company publicly opposed the legislation last year, and in response, Ron DeSantis called on the Legislature to give it control over theme parks in the autonomous district overseen by Disney.
But, Gov. Before DeSantis’ appointees took control of the district, Disney’s board of directors passed rules stripping new members of their powers, limiting the governor’s response.