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Florida Lawmakers Approve Sweeping Expansion To DeSantis’ Parental Rights In Education Bill

The Florida Senate approved a bill that would expand Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Parental Rights In Education Bill,” prohibiting classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in K-8 grade classrooms.

House Bill 1069, approved by the state Senate in a 27-12 vote, builds on DeSantis’ “Parental Rights In Education Bill,” the original law which critics deemed “Don’t Say Gay” because it prohibits lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation in K-3 classrooms. The bill passed the House in March and now heads to DeSantis’ desk where it is expected to be signed.

“This bill promotes parental rights, transparency, and state standards in Florida schools,” Republican state Rep. Adam Anderson told the Hill. “It requires that lessons for Florida’s students are age-appropriate, focused on education, and free from sexualization and indoctrination.”

Under the bill, educators would be prohibited from telling and asking students about their “preferred pronouns.” School districts also must create and post an “easy to read and understand” form that parents can access in order to challenge books or curriculum they deem age inappropriate.

“This bill insults the professionalism of educators. It takes away freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom to be treated equally in our public schools,” Democratic state Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book told CBS News.

In April, the Florida Board of Education (DOE) approved a rule that prohibited certain lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation from 4-12 grade. Under the state DOE rule, teachers can not give lessons on gender identity or sexual orientation unless it “is either expressly required by state academic standards … or is part of a reproductive health course or health lesson.”

States across the country are moving to follow Florida’s lead and enact legislation that would prohibit age-inappropriate lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation in the classroom; in Iowa, the state legislature is weighing a bill that would prohibit teachers from giving lessons “relating to gender identity” for students in K-8 in public and charter school classrooms. North Carolina lawmakers are considering the Parents’ Bill of Rights which would ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from K-4 classrooms.

“Raising small children in this climate carries with it a lot of challenges today,” Republican state Sen. Erin Grall told CBS News. “And you see society coming at our children in a culture war, that it has an agenda to make them confused.”

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