The highly controversial Florida education law, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay,” officially went into effect Friday, July 1, though state officials have yet to clarify what conduct is banned under the new rules.
The measure allegedly asserts parental rights by banning discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade classes. But it is written in vague terms which obscure the scope of the law.
Orlando-area schools are apparently not taking chances. According to WFTV, a local ABC affiliate, Orange County Public Schools, organized a meeting between district attorneys and principals about what would not be acceptable to the youngest students.
The district’s teachers’ union rang alarm bells at the news station. Email correspondence posted on the website of the Orange Classroom Teachers Association discusses how K-3 teachers and school staff were advised not to wear any rainbows and not to wear any rainbows and to protect themselves from same-sex partners or family members. Take any photo from the desk. They were also encouraged not to talk about their same-sex partners with students, and not to respect the pronouns that gender-nonconforming students want to use.
A district representative told WFTV that the guidance was only intended to protect schools and staff — including teachers’ licenses — until the state makes it clear exactly what types of behavior are covered by the law.
Several attempts to reach administrators of Orange County schools on Friday were unsuccessful.
Schools are also making sure their bookshelves are compliant: Palm Beach County is instructing teachers to pull up LGBTQ-friendly books that may violate a new state law, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported this year. Was informed in the beginning.
Other parts of the new law are even less clear. This explicitly includes provisions that apply to all grade levels that require schools to inform parents about changes in students’ mental and emotional health, which may include gender identity or sexuality.
This week, Tallahassee-area schools adopted a new policy that parents will be notified when a “student who is open about their gender identity” — a reference to possibly non-conforming students, may be referred to those students. Instead of using what they say they’re cisgender – going to their child’s locker room or taking part in an overnight field trip.
Although the Leon County School Board-approved guide states that no student’s gender identity should be shared without their “input and permission”, some were concerned that the policy could be used to pressure those students. who are not ready to discuss their identity.
The Florida Department of Education hasn’t said when it will issue guidance on the law, and a memo indicated that the department had the entire school year — until June 2023 — before it had to implement the new rules.
The longer wait is likely to create confusion and even more discord among students and teachers, many of whom staged a walkout earlier this year to protest the law.
The state education department did not immediately return a request for comment.
State rape. Carlos Smith, a Democrat who says he is the first openly gay state representative, told NBC News he was not surprised that some schools were taking extreme precautions.
Smith told the outlet, “What’s happening right now — with rainbow flags and censorship of school districts basically preparing to push LGBTQ students and teachers into the closet — is exactly what we said ‘don’t say gay’.” With the law.” ,