Florida House committee passes bill banning school-sanctioned discussions about sexual orientation in primary grades

Lawmakers on the Florida state House Education and Employment Committee have approved legislation prohibiting public school districts from encouraging discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation in primary-level classrooms.

The Parental Rights Education Act, which passed the house committee on Thursday, was introduced by state Rep. Joe Harding. Its companion legislation in the state Senate is sponsored by Republican state Sen. Dennis Baxley, The Hill reported.

“This bill is about defending the most awesome responsibility a person can have: being a parent,” Harding said Thursday.

“That job can only be given to you by above,” the Republican state lawmaker added.

Pro-LGBT advocates were not pleased with the bill:

So what specifically, does the legislation do?

According to the bill’s text, “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

That’s not all.

The legislation also seeks to make sure parents are aware of and involved in decisions regarding students’ health and well-being.

“School district personnel may not discourage or prohibit parental notification of and involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being,” the bill reads.

The legislation also allows parents to take legal action if a public school district violates the law.

“A court may award damages and shall award reasonable attorney fees and court costs to a parent who receives declaratory or injunctive relief,” the bill reads.

If it passes the Florida House and Senate and is signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, the law would take effect July 22.