Florida Republicans have faced backlash for a measure that bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” to elementary school children, but similar bills have been introduced and considered in other states across the country.
On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill, which bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade. The measure has faced criticism on a national level, including from President Biden.
In February, Biden wrote in a tweet saying that he supported those in Florida who oppose the “hateful bill” and vowed to fight back “for the protections and safety you deserve.”
Biden, however, along with other critics, has been largely silent about similar measures in other state legislatures that aim to shape how discussions or viewpoints on gender and sexual orientation are held in school systems.
In early March, Georgia legislators introduced Senate Bill 613, the Common Humanity in Private Education Act, which is co-sponsored by 10 Republican state senators. It states that “no private or nonpublic school or program” should “promote, compel or encourage classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not appropriate for the age and developmental stage of the student.”
“No teacher should be promoting gender identity discussions with small children in a classroom setting, which is exactly what this bill says and why I support it,” said Georgia state Sen. Burt Jones, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In Kansas, House Bill 2662, dubbed the Parents’ Bill of Rights and Academic Transparency Act, aims to enact certain rules regarding sexual materials placed in classrooms. The proposal, which was introduced in February, calls for amending the state’s obscenity law in an effort to make it a class B misdemeanor for educators to display materials depicting acts of “sadomasochistic abuse” or “sexual conduct,” which includes homosexuality. The Kansas measure is also sponsored by the House Committee on K-12 Education Budget.
Similarly, Republicans in Tennessee introduced House Bill 800. That legislation seeks to prevent the distribution of materials or textbooks that “promote, normalize, support or address lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) lifestyles.” The measure cites the materials as “inappropriate” and states the “promotion of LGBT issues and lifestyles in public schools offends a significant portion of students, parents and Tennessee residents with Christian values.”
Indiana lawmakers are also seeking to get parents involved in their children’s education with House Bill 1040. The measure calls for instructors to “obtain prior informed written consent from the parent of a student who is less than eighteen” in order to discuss “gender identity,” “sexual orientation,” “abortion,” “transgenderism” or “sexual activity.”
In Oklahoma, Senate Bill 1142 and Senate Bill 1654 would prevent libraries and classrooms from providing materials that discuss “any form of non-procreative sex” or “lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues.”
In Louisiana, House Bill 837, introduced in March, states, “No teacher, school employee or other presenter shall cover the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in any classroom discussion or instruction in kindergarten through grade eight.”
In addition, the Louisiana legislation says no teacher, school employee or presenter should discuss their “own sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten through grade twelve.”
Absent from much of the discussion around the Florida bill is the actual content of the legislation. The bill does prohibit classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” with children in third grade or younger, “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
But the bill also does not ban the word “gay” in school settings.
“In Florida, we not only know that parents have a right to be involved, we insist that parents have a right to be involved,” DeSantis said Monday.
Read more at viralsant.com.