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.
It is not the job of school administrators, teachers or counselors to replace the role of a parent. HB 1557 protects every parent's right to a role in their child's education, health and well-being. Thank you, Representatives @josephbharding & @ChrisLatvala for your leadership. pic.twitter.com/Ow3PtjU8oP
— FL House Republicans (@FLGOPMajority) January 21, 2022
Pro-LGBT advocates were not pleased with the bill:
This will kill kids, @RonDeSantisFL. You are purposefully making your state a harder place for LGBTQ kids to survive in. In a national survey (@TrevorProject), 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year. Now they can't talk to their teachers? https://t.co/VtfFLPlsn3
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chasten) January 20, 2022
Today, lawmakers moved forward a bill to ban discussion of LGBTQ people in schools. Our own Jon Harris Maurer had a powerful reply:
"We're parents, students, & teachers. We are your brothers & sisters. Conversations about us aren't something dangerous that should be banned." ❤️ pic.twitter.com/4vxM5dAxgV
— Equality Florida (@equalityfl) January 20, 2022
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.”
Brave Mom January Littlejohn speaks in support of FL House Bill 1557, Parental Rights in Education.
January’s 13yo was put into a gender transition program without the consent and knowledge of her parents. @DrJayRichards @ADFLegal @ParentalRights @josephbharding @VoteRandyFine pic.twitter.com/HLShtP7zYQ
— Moms for Liberty (@Moms4Liberty) January 21, 2022
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.
— Stan McClain (@RepMcClain) January 20, 2022
“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.