(The Center Square) — Florida lawmakers have passed several education reforms this session, but the one drawing the most attention might be an extension of the Parent Rights in Education Act signed last session.
House Bill 1069 passed the state House on March 31 and reinforces parental rights in education and further prohibits classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation, extending the ban from kindergarten through eighth grade.
The Parental Rights in Education Act was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis in March 2022. The act strengthened the power of parents in how they choose to raise their child and what they want their child exposed to while they are at school.
Opponents have called it the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The law became a point of contention for LGBTQ+ supporters and supporters of gender-inclusivity after certain pro-LGBTQ+ materials were banned from school classrooms and libraries for being deemed sexually obscene and sexually explicit.
Previously, the ban only reached from kindergarten through third grade.
If enacted, HB 1069 will additionally protect students and school faculty members from being forced to use a person’s preferred pronouns and gives the Department of Education additional oversight over instructional materials used in the classroom to teach reproductive health.
Founder, president, and CEO of Moms For America Kimberly Fletcher told The Center Square that schools are exposing students to prohibited materials.
“Moms For America strongly believes that if material would not be allowed on television by the FCC, then it should not be allowed in our schools — we’re actively lobbying state legislatures all over the country to enact that common-sense standard,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher further added that Moms for America has been working closely with lawmakers to ensure children are protected and parents have their rights maintained.
“We have been working closely with legislators in Florida to protect children and parental rights, and we’re pleased that Florida is leading the nation in its efforts to prevent educators from indoctrinating children in dangerous ideologies that could negatively affect their mental health and enforce standards so that schools teach children how to think and not what to think,” Fletcher said.
HB 1223 further supports this and defines sex as meaning a person as either male or female based on the organization of the body, as indicated by the person’s sex chromosomes and internal and external genitalia present at birth.
The bill which is currently in committee, if enacted, will declare that the policy of every K-12 public school in Florida will teach that a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait and that it would be false to use pronouns for a person if they were not born with it.
This excludes people who were born with genetically or biochemically verifiable sex development disorders.
In the bill, it is also strictly forbidden for an educator to ask a student about their preferred pronouns, and employees and contractors of public schools are not able to penalize the student for not stating them.