Lawmakers in Florida showed tremendous wisdom and bravery Tuesday in passing the “Parental Rights in Education” bill which will now go to Gov. Ron Desantis’ desk for signature.
For anyone paying attention to national media, this bill, dishonestly slimed as the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, sounds like its one of the most hateful, unjust and mean-spirited pieces of legislation to come down the pike in years. One gets the impression that anyone who supports such legislation would have to be the worst person ever. Even Kate McKinnon went all preachy about it on Saturday Night Live this week. But these critics of the bill have gotten it precisely wrong. And dramatically so.
This important and brave bill is simply a reaction by parents to protect their young children from being indoctrinated in gender and sexual ideology. These parents are merely reacting in a defensive response to very troubling things being forced upon their children.
According to a summary provided by the Florida House of Representatives, the bill:
- Requires that school districts adopt procedures for notifying parents if there is a change in their student’s services or monitoring related to a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.
- Ensures that all procedures adopted under the bill must reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children.
- Prohibits school districts from maintaining procedures that withhold information, or encourage students to withhold information, related to a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being from parents.
- Restricts discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity to only those that are age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate for students while prohibiting a school district from encouraging discussions of these topics with children in kindergarten thru 3rd grade.
- Creates a cause of action for parents that permits them to enforce their rights through declaratory and injunctive relief.
The creation of this bill prohibiting schools from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with students in primary grades is what it looks like when parents act like parents and stand up to protect their children. And clearly, gender activists are angry and want to shut such parents down. There is everything praiseworthy about parents taking strong legal measures to protect their children from such indoctrination. It is loving, not hateful. Idealogues who say otherwise should be ashamed.
Governor DeSantis was recently asked about the so-called “The Don’t Say Gay Bill” by a local reporter. The Governor roundly corrected the reporter to strong applause from press conference attendees.
DeSantis said, “I’m asking you to tell me what’s in the bill because you are pushing false narratives.” DeSantis continued to explain “for who” the restrictions of this legislation exist, “For grades pre-K through 3. So five-year olds, six-year olds, seven-year olds. And the idea that you wouldn’t be honest about that and tell people what [the bill] actually says, it’s why people don’t trust people like you because you peddle false narratives.”
The crowd applauded, and DeSantis continued, “So we disabuse you of those narratives. And we are going to make sure that parents can send their children to kindergarten without some of this stuff injected into their school curriculum.”
The “Parental Rights in Education” bill will prevent situations like what happened to January Littlejohn, a licensed mental health counselor and stay-at-home mom in Florida.
During public comments on the bill, Littlejohn said in January that her daughter had a discussion with school administrators about her restroom preference, but the school wouldn’t share any information about that discussion without the daughter’s permission.
“After many weeks of going back and forth with the district, we learned the middle school had created a transgender, gender nonconforming support plan with our 13-year-old daughter without our knowledge or consent,” Littlejohn said. These parents refused to be blocked from a fundamental part of their child’s life.
“The bill prohibits school districts from maintaining procedures that withhold information or encourage students to withhold information related to students’ mental, emotional or physical health from their parents,” explained FL Rep. Joe Harding, R-Ocala,
Parents have the right to be intensely involved in their child’s education. And when that education touches on even more important and weighty matters, like sex ed for example, a parent’s involvement becomes all the more essential.
Important bills like this become even more needed when we consider what is happening in other states like California and soon coming to others.
Freemont High School in Oakland, California has incorporated a “transition closet” so that children can secretly circumvent their parents’ wishes about clothing choices. “The goal of the transition closet is for our students to wear the clothes that their parents approve of, come to school and then swap out into the clothes that fit who they truly are,” said Thomas Martin-Edwards, a Spanish teacher at the Oakland Unified School District. Martin-Edwards is also founder of the Queer Teacher Fellowship and proudly posts on Tik Tok as @justaqueerteacher. He is certainly not shy about informing you that he has larger ambitions for his students, your children, than just teaching Spanish…
There is indeed ample reason why parents are so concerned about the kinds of lies and deceptions being taught to their children today in too many schools. And Focus on the Family salutes the parents and legislators of Florida for standing up to it with boldness and wisdom.
If you’re concerned about what your child may be learning in school, and want to take practical step to protect them, check out Focus on the Family’s free resource, Back to School for Parents: A busy parent’s guide to what’s happening in your children’s classrooms and practical steps you can take to protect them.
Photo from Shutterstock.