Headline RoundupMarch 8th, 2022

Florida Senate Passes Bill Limiting Classroom Instruction on LGBTQ Identities

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The Florida Senate passed a bill on Tuesday which would, among other things, prohibit “classroom instruction” on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through 3rd grade. 

The vote fell mostly on party lines, with two Republicans joining the opposition. The bill, titled “Parental Rights in Education,” has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics. Beyond 3rd grade, the bill would also ban instruction on LGBTQ identities “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” The text of the bill offers no specific definition of “developmentally appropriate,” and parents would be able to sue Florida school districts to enforce the law. The legislation has stirred controversy in Florida for months; on Monday, a spokesperson for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis compared the bill’s opponents to “groomers.” On Tuesday, Florida state Rep. Carlos G Smith, a Democrat and a gay man, accused the DeSantis spokesperson of spreading “the oldest, most dangerous anti-gay trope that exists.

Left and center-rated outlets often referred to the bill as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Some left-rated outlets published op-eds criticizing the bill; the Washington Post (Lean Left) Editorial Board wrote that the “harmful” bill was “rooted in the anachronistic belief that discussions about gender and sexuality somehow endanger children.” Right-rated outlets tended to use the “Parental Rights” title and often directly criticized the “Don’t Say Gay” label. A Washington Examiner (Lean Right) article said the bill had been “misnamed” by “liberal pundits and state and national Democrats.” Some coverage across the spectrum appeared to cite the bill's first-page summary, which described a ban on “classroom discussion,” rather than the bill's text, which banned “classroom instruction.”

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