Most public school teachers in Florida will be barred from teaching sexual orientation and gender identity, regardless of grade, under a state board of education law passed Wednesday.
The rule greatly expands Florida’s controversial 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed “Don’t Say Like Me” by critics, which bans teaching in grades K-3. The rule also bypasses a bill in the legislature this year that extends the ban to eighth grade.
K-12 education consultant Paul Burns told the board that the change “will continue to ensure that teachers engage in an education that is academically standards-based and that is appropriate for age and development.”
[ RELATED: Florida House backs expanding Parental Rights in Education through 8th grade; critics call it ‘don’t say gay’ law ]
The rule makes some exceptions for certain health-related categories.
Dozens of speakers participated in the change, and the majority opposed it.
“What legitimate harm is done to teaching students in the Grade 11 civics course about the landmark Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality?” asked Joe Saunders, senior political director for Equality Florida, which advocates for LGBT rights. “Under this obscure new rule, this disgraceful censorship, the teacher who included these cases in the lesson plan will be fired and his career will end.”
Education Commissioner Manny Diaz denies the rule will limit discussion of Supreme Court cases.
“There’s a difference between talking about Supreme Court cases and taking that and going into something more subjective and trying to expand on that,” Diaz said.
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