The expansion of “Don’t Say Like Me” requested by DeSantis was approved

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TILLAHASSE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Board of Education on Wednesday agreed to ban classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the scope of a law that law critics are calling “Don’t Say Like Me” at the request of Governor Ron DeSantis As he prepares to run in the expected presidential elections.

The proposal will go into effect after a procedural notice period of about a month, according to a DOE spokesperson.

the rule change Lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity will be prohibited from grades 4-12, unless required by current state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take. fl offline Such lessons are prohibited Kindergarten through third grade.

DeSantis’ management floated the proposal last month as part of a Aggressive conservative Republican agendaas the governor leans heavily on cultural divides ahead of his imminent run for the White House.

DeSantis has not commented on the proposal. He previously directed questions to Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., who said it was intended to clear up confusion about the current law and to promote teachers not deviating from the current curriculum.

“We’re not removing anything here,” Diaz Jr. said on Wednesday. “All we do is we set expectations so that our teachers are clear: they must teach to standards.”

The ban, which began last year with a law banning classes on sexual orientation and gender identity in Kindergarten to third gradehad drawn intense backlash from critics who argue that it marginalizes LGBTQ+ and has vague terminology that leads to self-censorship from educators. Democratic President Joe Biden called her “distasteful”.

The current law is also a continuous root Feud with DisneyOne of the largest employers and political donors in the state.

“Let’s put it plainly: This is part of the governor’s assault on liberty,” said Joe Saunders, senior political director for the Florida LGBT advocacy group Equality, adding that the policy will “further stigmatize and alienate a young population who needs our support now more than ever.” time.”

The entertainment giant opposed the law last year, and as punishment, DeSantis pushed lawmakers to give him control of an autonomous region that Disney oversees in its theme parks.

Before a group of DeSantis’ new appointees could assume control of the district, Disney’s board of directors passed restrictive charters stripping the new members of most of their powers, limiting the governor’s retaliation.

DeSantis ordered a chief inspector general to investigate the Disney board’s move and vowed further retaliation against the company through legislation.