Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law on Monday, which critics have derided as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
HB 1557 prohibits classroom instruction regarding “sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade “or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards” for those in higher grades.
“As many of you know, I think the last couple of years have really revealed to parents that they are being ignored increasingly across our country when it comes to their kids’ education,” DeSantis said at a bill signing ceremony at Classical Preparatory School in Spring Hill, Florida, north of Tampa.
“We have seen curriculum embedded for very, very young children, classroom materials about sexuality and woke gender ideology. We have seen libraries that have clearly inappropriate pornographic materials for very young kids,” the governor added.
DeSantis provided the example of the GenderBread person in a grade school book.
“It’s trying to say that they can be whatever they want to be. This is inappropriate for kindergartners and first graders and second graders. Parents do not want this going on in their schools,” he said.
Speaking in front of a sign that says, “Protect children/Support parents,” Governor Desantis says this image of the “Genderbread man,” is one of the reasons the state needs the so-called “Don’t say gay bill.” https://t.co/tETUUI7jta pic.twitter.com/DWkTwA05jv
— CBS4 News Gainesville (@mycbs4) March 28, 2022
HB 1557 also codifies parents’ rights to decline any mental, emotional and physical health services available to their children at school and that parents must be notified of their children’s use of them unless there is reason to believe “that disclosure would subject the student to abuse, abandonment or neglect.”
“We’ve seen services that were given to students without the consent or even knowledge of their parents across the country,” DeSantis said.
He pointed to medical services for gender transitions, as a prime problem HB 1557 addresses.
DeSantis argued that those on the left who opposed the legislation tried to sway public opinion through the use of deceptive narratives, like calling it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
“They’re sloganeering because they don’t want to admit that they support a lot of the things that we’re providing protections against,” he said.
“For example, they support sexualizing kids in kindergarten. They support injecting woke gender ideology into second grade classrooms. They support enabling schools to ‘transition students’ to a ‘different gender’ without the knowledge of the parent, much less without the parents’ consent,” DeSantis continued.
Slogans and narratives are to “camouflage their true intentions,” the governor argued.
Following DeSantis’ bill signing, state Senate Democratic leader Lauren Book said HB 1557 was, “Crafted in ignorance and fear mongering, this legislation has little to do with student safety and everything to do with culture wars fabricated by Republicans.”
DeSantis spoke to those in Hollywood who made fun of the bill at the Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night, saying he’s proud to have their opposition.
And it’s now 8:00 in Florida and we can now project that Ron Desantis has easily won re election. https://t.co/J5rzanQI1U
— Nicky🇺🇸 (@NickyScatz) March 28, 2022
“If the people who held up degenerates like Harvey Weinstein up as exemplars and as heroes … if those are the types of people that are opposing us on parents rights, I wear that like a badge of honor,” he said.
DeSantis also appeared to allude to The Walt Disney Company’s opposition to the bill. The corporation is one of Florida’s larger employers and owner of a top tourist attraction in the state, Walt Disney World.
“I don’t care what corporate media outlets say,” he said. “I don’t care what Hollywood says. I don’t care what big corporations say. Here I stand, I’m not backing down.”
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