Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill To Get Final Vote Tuesday

Tallahassee’s PBS affiliate reports:

The Florida House could be poised to pass two fiercely debated bills that would place restrictions on how issues about race, gender identity and sexual orientation are taught in public schools.

The Republican-dominated House is scheduled to take up the bills Tuesday, after weeks of opposition from Democrats and other critics such as LGBTQ-advocacy groups.

“If we are prohibiting discussion around sexual orientation, are we therefore prohibiting discussion around people being gay?” Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, asked Friday before the House Judiciary Committee voted 13-7 to approve the bill along party lines.

Human Rights Watch reports:

The bill would ban discussing these issues in primary schools and restrict how they are discussed in other grades if they are deemed “not age-inappropriate.” However, it does not specify what would be considered age-appropriate, or who decides.

Any parent could sue their child’s school for compensation for alleged harm if they believe those discussions have occurred. The likely outcome of the bill would be to deter teachers from addressing these issues and to chill open discussions and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students.

The bill would also require school personnel to notify parents of changes in a student’s physical, mental, or emotional health. It would significantly limit the ability of counselors and teachers to be a confidential resource for students.

The American Bar Journal reports:

The ABA is opposing provisions in Florida legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill because they would undermine the well-being of LGBTQ students and chill beneficial faculty speech.

ABA President Reginald Turner outlined the ABA opposition to the bill, which discourages some classroom discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity, in a Feb. 16 letter to Florida lawmakers.

Turner’s letter said the ABA adopted a resolution in 2020 urging publicly funded elementary and secondary schools to include information about the contributions of LGBTQ people in their curricula.