By Nyam Daniel
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law Monday that blocks sexual orientation and gender identity from being taught in schools.
The legislation, Parental Rights in Education, has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents. It prohibits discussion about sexual orientation and gender in kindergarten through third grade and limits how the subjects are taught to older children.
“Parents’ rights have been increasingly under assault around the nation, but in Florida, we stand up for the rights of parents and the fundamental role they play in the education of their children,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Parents have every right to be informed about services offered to their child at school, and should be protected from schools using classroom instruction to sexualize their kids as young as 5 years old.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the federal agency would monitor the policy to ensure it does not harm students.
“By signing this bill, Governor DeSantis has chosen to target some of Florida’s most vulnerable students and families, all while under the guise of ‘parents’ rights,'” Cardona said in a statement. “Make no mistake: this is a part of a disturbing and dangerous trend across the country of legislation targeting LGBTQI+ students, educators, and individuals.”
DeSantis also signed a bill Friday that requires school districts to hold open meetings when selecting of instructional materials, including library and reading materials. School districts must also provide access to all materials at least 20 days before the school board takes official action on materials, under the new law.