Florida’s sweeping Parental Rights in Education law may get an upgrade. Republican State Senate President Kathleen Passidomo announced she will consider options to include middle schools in its provisions.
The bill, signed in March by Gov. Ron DeSantis, prohibits schools from teaching age-inappropriate materials to young children from kindergarten through third grade. It also stipulates that schools may not withhold information from parents on their child’s education or health.
Florida lawmaker considers prohibiting gender ideology, sex education in middle school by expanding Parental Rights in Education Act https://t.co/b7Dz0Pn8ix
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) December 27, 2022
The law requires that appropriate subject matter be taught in accordance with state standards.
Passidomo told the media that, as a parent, she is concerned with knowing what her kids are exposed to behind school walls. She declared that “the schools are not supposed to be raising our kids. It should be the parents.”
She expressed her opposition to barring teachers from teaching topics including gender-related issues to high schoolers. The Republican said that “kids in high school are hopefully a little bit more mature.”
The current Florida law allows for modifications to the curriculum considering what lawmakers believe to be age-appropriate. House Bill 1557, inaccurately dubbed by critics as “Don’t Say Gay,” is wildly popular in the state despite pushback from corporate and media critics.
Opponents charge the law, which faces federal court challenges, hamstrings teachers’ ability to bring up sensitive topics to children at a vulnerable age. They further allege that it is harmful to LGBT youth.
Former Democratic state Sen. Audrey Gibson claimed the present law and its possible expansion “create division.”
Republican supporters feel otherwise. They stress that the law blocks the removal of parents from their children’s health and education decisions and provides a powerful window into what kids are exposed to in school classrooms.
The law also led directly to the State Board of Education probing LGBT support guides in place in 10 Florida school districts. Some local boards are now in the process of revising these manuals, while others have scrapped them altogether.
Under DeSantis, Florida has taken the national lead in protecting the rights of parents to be a part of their children’s health and educational decisions. Expanding those rights past third grade is only logical and will undoubtedly secure the support of the state’s concerned parents.