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DeSantis proposes expansion of Parental Rights in Education bill near first anniversary of its signing

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Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) proposed expanding Florida's Parental Rights in Education bill as the legislation approaches the first anniversary of its signing, National Review reported.

"Parents have the right and God-given responsibility to guide their children’s upbringing," Florida Sen. Clay Yarborough (R-Jacksonville) said during a committee hearing Monday.

"They should not have to worry their students are receiving classroom instruction on topics and materials parents feel are not age-appropriate," Yarborough also said.

If successful, the legislation that now prohibits teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade would be expanded to cover students through twelfth grade.

In addition to the curriculum-based prohibitions, the bill's prescriptive component requires school districts to notify parents if there is a change in their child's mental, emotional, or physical health.

A child suddenly claiming to be the opposite of his or her biological sex — a girl saying she is now a boy, for example — could be among the changes schools would be required to report to parents. In addition, GOP lawmakers want to prohibit school employees from using pronouns for students that differ from the student's biological sex, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The text of the proposed rule in the Florida Administrative Register states that Florida educators "shall not intentionally provide classroom instruction in grades 4 through 12 on sexual orientation or gender identity unless such instruction is either expressly required by state academic standards ... or is part of a reproductive health course or health lesson for which a student's parent has the option to have his or her student not attend."

Pinellas teachers' union president Nancy Velardi, quoted by the Tampa Bay Times, predicated that "children are going to die. ... It is not a question. It's a definite."

Velardi was among the people who wrongly called the original bill the "Don't Say Gay" bill. The word "gay" does not appear in the legislation, and the preposterous claim has been rightly and thoroughly debunked.

"As far as the 'Don't Say Gay Bill,' that is predominantly focused on the younger grades. And again, those things were not happening in classrooms," Velardi said on WMNF's Tuesday Cafe in August 2022.

DeSantis signed the historic bill protecting parental rights in education exactly one year ago in Spring Hill, Florida.

"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 as he signed House Bill 1557.

"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." he also said.

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