Opinion on Florida’s Parental Rights and Education Bill

My Thoughts on the “Don’t Say Gay” bill


Florida has recently been in many news outlets due to the new laws that Governor Ron DeSantis has put in place. DeSantis recently passed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by its opponents. This new law states “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” The law will be put into effect on June 1st, the start of LGBTQ Pride Month.

Kailina Olcott Culture Project
Brittany Chapman

The bill also requires schools to notify parents when children receive mental, emotional, or physical health services unless educators believe there is a risk of “abuse, abandonment, or neglect.” With that, parents have the right to opt their children out of receiving counseling and health services.

I don’t believe that it is up to the government to decide when or how we learn about gender and sexuality. It’s classless to say that teachers don’t have the right to teach kids about specific topics. It’s their job. If parents shelter their children for the sake of them “not being mature enough”, it isn’t a good enough excuse for being close-minded. They’re bound to find out anyway, who cares if they learn about it? It isn’t harmful to learn, and it doesn’t affect them. People being happy should not bother someone that much.

With more and more states making these laws that directly affect the LGBTQ community, there’s more ignorance and misinformation, as well as a lack of education for children who could be experiencing those feelings that are being outlawed from being taught. When parents and lawmakers take away resources for education, it can inspire ignorance, which can lead to more hate crimes occurring. Lawmakers continue to put anti-LGBTQ laws into effect which is, in turn, causing ignorance and misunderstanding of these marginalized groups.

On the second part of the law, the part about schools being legally obligated to inform the parents when help is given to their students, I can understand. To a degree parents, need to know whether their child is a danger to themselves or others. If the kid is struggling and is scared to tell the parent, maybe it’s because the family has never spoken to or educated the child on mental health and sexuality. There are plenty of reasons kids wouldn’t rather talk to a guidance counselor and not their parents, and the main reason is embarrassment. They’d rather know what to say to their parent first. Counselors can aid students on how best to share information with their parents.