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Gay kindergarten teacher on Florida law guarding parental rights: 'It scares me to death' that I won't be able to talk about 'my partner' to my students

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Image source: MSNBC video screenshot

A gay kindergarten teacher in Florida said "it scares me to death" that he won't be able to talk to his students about his "partner" due to the Parental Rights in Education bill Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law Monday.

The law — which left-wing pro-LBGTQ types have falsely referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" bill — prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3, and it doesn't use the word "gay" or prevent its use.

What did the teacher say?

“It really hits hard in my heart professionally and personally,” teacher Cory Bernaert said in an interview MSNBC posted Tuesday. He added that "it truly makes me feel like I am not trusted as a professional. I know my kindergarten standards through and through, and nowhere in our curriculum does it have anything about teaching sexual orientation or sexual identity. So for them to say that that's happening ... it's kinda crazy."

Bernaert — who teaches at Barbara A. Harvey Elementary School in Parrish and who spoke about the issue to local media earlier this month — added to MSNBC that "we should be able to have discussions, and that’s what we’re encouraged to do in kindergarten." He added that "my kids do have questions. They want to know who my partner is in pictures outside of my classroom, and I should be able to speak to them.”

The MSNBC interviewer asked Bernaert if he's concerned he won't be able to talk about his "own personal home life" with students, then interjected that she knows "everything" about her child's teachers "because my kid tells me."

Bernaert replied, "Absolutely. You are 100% correct. That’s what we do as educators; we build relationships with our kids. And in order to build relationships, you talk about your home life, you talk about what you do on the weekends. That's building community ... it scares me to death that I'm not going to be able to have these conversations with my children, because they’re going to ask me what I did on the weekend. I don’t want to have to hide that my partner and I went paddle boarding this weekend.”

He added that his students will ask, "What does 'partner' mean, Mr. Bernaert?” and then wondered, “Can I tell them what it means?”

Bernaert also said that if gay parents of his students don't want to or don't know how to answer such a question, then his students "are gonna come to me and ask me."

He also told MSNBC the new law opens up schools and teachers to parental lawsuits.

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