Florida Board of Education Approves DeSantis’ Expansion of ‘Don’t Say Jay’: Reports

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The Florida Board of Education on Wednesday approved an expansion of the Parents’ Rights to Education Act, which opponents have called “Don’t Say Like Me,” that will affect K-12 education of sexual orientation and gender identity, according to multiple reports.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last month proposed to the board a rule that only allows discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in grades 4 through 12 if it aligns with the state’s curriculum or in a health class that a student can choose not to participate in.

The proposal was an extension of the Parents’ Rights in Education bill passed last year that bans all discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity through the third grade in Florida.

“This policy will escalate the government oversight sweeping our state, exacerbate the exodus of our teachers, drive hard-working families out of Florida, and further stigmatize and alienate a group of young people who need our support now more than ever,” said Florida Equality, a group LGBTQ rights on Twitter in response to the adopted rule. “Shame on the DeSantis management for putting a target on the backs of LGBTQ Floridians.”

A spokesman for the Florida Department of Education told The Associated Press that the newly approved rule will go into effect within one month after it goes through a procedural suspension period.

The approval from the state assembly marks the latest escalation in DeSantis’ battle with LGBTQ advocates.

“Parents’ rights are increasingly under assault across the country, but we in Florida stand up for parents’ rights and the essential role they play in their children’s education,” DeSantis said when he first signed the law. “Parents have every right to be informed of the services provided to their children at school, and should be protected from schools using classroom instructions to sexualize their children as young as 5.”

Even as DeSantis proposed this expansion to the state assembly, Florida lawmakers were looking to formally expand the law through the state legislature.

The Florida House has already passed a parental rights-to-education expansion that would put DeSantis’ rule on fourth- to 12th-grade sexual orientation formally on the books, as well as expanding the process of pulling challenged books from classrooms.

The expansion is now in the Senate for consideration and will likely pass next month.

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