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What You Need to Know About The “Don’t Say Gay Bill”

A bill was passed by the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, Monday the 28th that prohibits the classroom instruction and discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools. It also prohibits school support services like counselors to withhold information regarding a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health/well-being. This bill is called the “Parental Rights in Education Bill” and has been called the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by those who oppose the bill due to its promotion of the lack of instruction on these topics. The bill itself stated, “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.” The bill gives parents the right to review school health questionnaires before it is given to students and gives them the right to refuse the teaching of this information at an older age as well. The bill itself allows for parents to sue schools if the teaching of this information does occur.

DeSantis justified his signage of the bill by saying, “We all make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination.” Indoctrination means the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically. Meaning, DeSantis believes the children are not being exposed to the information in an unbiased way. He goes on to say, “It’s not something that’s appropriate for any place, but especially not in Florida.”

A lot of protesting and opposition to this bill has been noted specifically by The Trevor Project, Walt Disney, and by multiple celebrities. Overall, a lot of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies have voiced their disgust with the bill. Their argument is that this bill is undermining LGBTQ identity, history, and culture as well as the individuals themselves. It is also potentially causing a hostile environment for the students who apply because it may force teachers to “out” their kids to their parents.

In my opinion, I don’t think a child is ever too young to learn about sexual orientation or gender identity because there are kids who experience feelings regarding both sexual orientation and gender, and they have no explanation or understanding of what they are feeling. I feel they deserve to feel heard and accepted in that capacity. I also believe it is justifiable for the students and children who don’t apply directly to the bill to still be educated about it at a young age because it’ll promote respect and acceptance of their peers. In my eyes, the passing of this bill is a regression of acceptance of diversity within America. All people, but especially children, should be exposed to neighbors who may be different than themselves.

Mari Adamson

Jefferson '24

Mari is a Sophomore at Jefferson University, majoring in health sciences and enrolled in the Pre-Physician's Assistant Program. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and finding new places to eat. She also has a passion for photography and self-care!
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