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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) clashed with a reporter Monday over controversial legislation that Democrats and LGBT advocates are fiercely protesting.
What is the background?
The bill at the center of the controversy, HB 1557, is designed to bolster parents' rights in public education.
For example, one provision of the legislation reinforces the "fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing & control of their children," while another prohibits schools from adopting policies permitting school officials to withhold information from their parents or policies encouraging students to withhold information from their parents, especially information related to "critical decisions affecting student's mental, emotional, or physical well-being."
But the bill also "prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels" — which has outraged LGBT advocates and Democrats.
The exact text of bill says:
Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.
What happened with DeSantis?
To generate opposition to the bill, critics of HB 1557 labeled it the "Don't Say Gay" bill — despite the bill not once using the word "gay." Instead, the bill only prohibits young children, whose brains are extremely malleable, from being indoctrinated with progressive LGBT ideology at school.
On Monday, WFLA-TV reporter Evan Donovan asked DeSantis about HB 1557, invoking the dishonest framing critics have pinned on it. But DeSantis had none of it.
"Can I ask you about [inaudible] rights in education, what critics call the 'Don't Say Gay' bill is on the [Florida] Senate floor —"
"Does it say that in the bill?" DeSantis shot back. "Does it say that in the bill?"
"I know that you support —" Donovan responded.
"I’m asking you to tell me what’s in the bill, because you are pushing false narrative," DeSantis fired back. "It doesn’t matter what critics say."
"It bans classroom instruction on sexual identity and gender orientation," Donovan responded
“For who? For grades pre-K through three. So 5-year-olds, 6-year-olds, 7-year-olds," DeSantis responded. "And the idea that you wouldn’t be honest about that and tell people what it actually says — it’s why people don’t trust people like you, because you peddle false narratives."
The audience in the room then broke out in applause.
"So we disabuse you of those narratives," DeSantis continued. "And we’re going to make sure that parents are able to send their kid to kindergarten without having some of this stuff injected into their school curriculum."
JUST NOW: I asked @GovRonDeSantis if he supported HB 1557, the legislation critics call the 'Don't Say Gay' bill.\n\nhttps://www.wfla.com/news/politics/dont-say-gay-bill-passes-final-committee-stop-amendment-to-remove-text-targeting-lgbtq-fails/\u00a0\u2026 @WFLA https://twitter.com/josephbharding/status/1500232995806097415\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/C518l1QaC3— Evan Donovan (@Evan Donovan) 1646691173
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Chris Enloe is a staff writer for Blaze News