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Gender identity and sexual orientation instructions are off the table in Florida schools in 2023

The Florida Board of Education voted to limit gender identity and sexual orientation instructions in schools

The Florida Board of Education voted to limit the State’s middle and high school lessons by barring the teachers from “intentionally” instructing students about gender identity and sexual orientation. Unless the lessons relate to reproductive health or are required under academic standards, teachers cannot discuss other topics.

Here’s how people are reacting to the sexual orientation news.

No intentional discussions on gender identity and sexual orientation

The new rule bars teachers from discussing such topics. Teachers can lose their licenses or get suspended if they do otherwise. According to the head of the Florida Department of Education, Manny Diaz, this rule aims to ensure clarity for teachers on what topics are off the table in schools.

This rule prohibits classroom lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation – going beyond the Parental Rights in Education Laws of the State, which is otherwise called “don’t say gay” by its critics. These lessons are prohibited from kindergarten to third grade and can only be deemed age appropriate in some cases in older grades.

The State’s parental rights law has raised several questions about what kind of conversations are appropriate as the LGBTQ issues continue to be scrutinized by conservative groups, parents, and Republican lawmakers.

Critics are worried; parents think this rule will strengthen their relationship

The board of education started dealing with the school policies more severely following the rule. The school policies such as bathroom use and student protection who confide in their teachers and school staff about gender identity and sexual orientation are facing a crackdown.

Person showing play card in LGGBTQ+ protest

Many schools in other districts have pulled back their policies due to the new rule. For instance, Pasco County School took down its safe space stickers by citing the law.

The supporters of this rule believe this law only bars classroom instructions but doesn’t limit conversation on the said topics if they come up naturally. However, critics worry that this law will confuse schools and teachers.

Many women support the rule stating that it will strengthen their relationship with their kids since those conversations will occur at home, not school.

That said, the rule has received severe criticism from Equality Florida and other advocacy groups. Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, calls the rule “dystopian,” stating that the law censors education in a free country.

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